Posted by Eszter Hermann · Nov 24, 2014

Political propaganda, advertisement, movies - these are the topics of the posters that Budapest Poster Gallery displays. On 8 December at Budapest Music Center, an auction will be held where visitors can purchase 186 of these historic artworks.

Hungarian poster art dates back to the 1880s when the first Hungarian poster design pioneers and significant painters who designed the first posters appeared on the scene. They managed to prove that a poster can be more than a field full of letters and ornaments. The first two decades of the 20th century were dominated by the Art Nouveau movement and that was the time when commercial and propaganda posters spread.

The golden age of poster design, dominated by modernism and Art Deco, was between the two world wars, with commercial design in focus. After a lowpoint in the 1950s when the regime set the standards of how a poster should look, the second golden age of Hungarian poster art, especially of cultural, mainly movie posters came, with a strong Western influence. In 1985 they celebrated the 100th birthday of Hungarian poster art.

Although the second golden age ended in 1990, these historic posters still can be seen and, apparently, bought as well. Budapest Poster Gallery organizes an auction on 8 December where you can select from almost 200 pieces, original vintage posters from the golden age. Among many others, the collection features movie posters from the 1940s and from the 1980s, the original Hungarian posters for movies like ’Singing in the Rain’, ’Blade Runner’ or ’The Returm of the Jedi’ will be on display. Furthermore, music is on the table, too: the poster for the famous Hungarian rock band of the 1960s, Metro will be available as well.

But the biggest catch will undoubtedly be the original Unicum poster, probably familiar to most people, featuring a man and a Unicum bottle in the water. A copy of this legendary piece had been part of every pub’s interior, and now those who would like to preserve a bit of that ambiance, may buy this item for approximately 3 million forints. Well, it is certainly a huge amount of money. But, even though (or maybe because) posters have lost their mojo in the past decades, these special artworks are in fact highly valuable; they give a well-rounded picture of an era’s artistic trends, its intellectual and political atmosphere.

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