Julius Klinger: Posters for a Modern Age

March 4–August 15, 2021
A Julius Klinger show displaying two separate freestanding walls at an entrance forming a face by stacking letters TABU at each end.

Recognized as one of the leading graphic artists of the modern age, Austrian designer Julius Klinger (1876–1942) transformed commercial visual culture through his innovative advertising posters, book and magazine illustrations, mass promotional campaigns, ornamental and typographical design, and brand development. Associated with both the Vienna Secession and Jugendstil at the turn of the twentieth century, Klinger became famous as a poster designer in Germany, eventually returning to Austria to found a studio at the outbreak of the First World War. He would stay in Vienna, with two short visits to the United States, until his deportation to a Minsk extermination camp, where he was killed in 1942.

Klinger’s artistic reputation was built on the strength and range of his designs, which often shared a signature style characterized by graphic simplicity and directness—whether in the form of illustrations, graphic ornament, or his most famous posters. An advocate of “Americanismus,” and the progressive attitudes towards modern business and media coming from across the Atlantic, he understood the power of modern trademarks and logos to give identity to major businesses and manufacturers, and was a leading figure in shaping the look of major brands. Through Klinger’s life and examples of his work drawn from The Wolfsonian’s collection, this exhibition explored issues of identity—personal, corporate, and national—as well as the impact of cultural displacement on the history of design, and the role of commercial art in the modern city.

Julius Klinger: Posters for a Modern Age comes to Poster House from The Wolfsonian–Florida International University in Miami Beach, FL.

Additional support for Julius Klinger: Posters for a Modern Age is provided by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.

Selected Images

A lithographic image of a man in a suit with concentric circles emerging from his head.
Plakate: Hollerbaum und Schmidt, 1910
Julius Klinger
A lithographic poster of a giant pink flamingo with a small governmental building on the horizon.
Zoologischer Garten, c. 1910
Julius Klinger
A lithographic image of a large man taking up almost the entire page. He has orange skin, a white cane, and wears a top hat.
Das kleine Witzblatt, c. 1901
Julius Klinger
A lithographic poster of a red faced judge in full regalia getting his nose pinched by a giant red crab.
AHIGA, c. 1925
Julius Klinger
A lithographic image of a woman dancing. She is wearing a black dress and a large spanish shawl.
La Joëla, 1910
Julius Klinger
A lithographic poster of a giant snake slithering through a giant red number 8.
8. Kriegsanleihe, 1918
Julius Klinger
A lithographic poster of the letters TABU stacked on top of each other to make a face.
Tabu, 1919
Julius Klinger
A lithographic poster of a viking in high heels riding a swan.
Faschings-Ball der Secession, 1910
Julius Klinger