Kenneth F. Lewalski Polish Posters Collection

In 2009 the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University acquired the Kenneth F. Lewalski Polish Posters Collection. Kenneth Lewalski was an authority on Polish history that taught for many years at Rhode Island College. Many of the Posters were obtained after Lewalski obtained his Ph.D. in 1960 form the University of Chicago, when such posters were available, and before 1990; many were bought during his research trips to Poland. There are around 140 posters in this collection, which is strong on posters relating to American jazz performers and theater and film productions. Nearly 20% of the collection is the work of Waldemar Swierzy who designed 1500 posters in his lifetime, 26 of which are in this collection. Included in this 26 are his Jazz Greats series, his Beatles portraits, and his imaginative film works. Other artists featured in this collection are Jan Lenica, Franciszek Strarowiejski, Jan Sawka, A. Pagowski, J. Czerniawski, Roman Cieslewicz, Maciej Urbaniec, Stasys Eidrigovicius, Jan Mlodozeniec, and A. Kilmowski. Collection Themes & Highlights: Polish poster art and design emerged at the end of World War II and reached its height during the Cold War era. This explosion of creativity expressed through the Polish School of poster design has had a lasting and significant impact on the history of twentieth century graphic design. The artists and designers that belonged to the Polish School served as social and political commentators during the Soviet dominated years from 1945 to 1989. The allusions and metaphors in many of the posters they created for films, theater, operas, the Soviet circus, and music often made implicit statements on the totalitarian state. Sly and ironic, many Polish posters passed through the official state censors and to colorfully express public discontent on the streets of Warsaw, Krakow and other cities across Poland. The digital images available in iDEA represent a subset of the physical collection. For further information please contact Mark Willie at mew26@drexel.edu.

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Wielcy ludzie jazzu
Wielcy ludzie jazzu
Poster celebrating Charles Mingus, an American jazz musician who is featured playing a double bass with the strings knotted and falling apart, possibly referencing his mental instability. The poster only uses shades and tints of blue., illustration of Charles Mingus
Czlowiek z Marmuru
Czlowiek z Marmuru
Film poster for Polish film "Czlowiek Z Marmuru" (Man of Marble) features Jerzy Radziwilowicz, the actor who plays the main character, Birkut, who is a bricklayer. Behind him is a staggered bold red line, and the movie information is in a white typeface on top of a red rectangle., sepia tone man wit...
Krol Roger
Krol Roger
Poster for three-act Polish opera "Krol Roger" (King Roger) written by Szymanowki. The poster features tiled white squares that make a patterned image with six red squares on a black background., abstract pattern of grey, black, white, and red squares
Cyrk
Cyrk
This poster for a circus features a mouse dressed in a ring master's clothes, holding a hoop that surrounds a pink lion's head. All lies on a black background., pink lion
Count Basie
Count Basie
Poster celebrating Count Basie, an American jazz musician. The abstract poster features hundreds of small brush strokes that when looked from afar, shows Count Basie., Portrait of a man's face made with multiple colors
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