Creative Characters Ep. 9: Angelina Lippert, Posterhouse.
On Creative Characters, we meet the people and personalities behind the brands, campaigns, and designs we love. You can listen to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and wherever quality podcasts are available.
Episode 9 could have easily been a four-parter. That’s what happens when both your guest and your host (Creative Type Director Charles Nix) have an encyclopedic knowledge of their respective fields and love to talk about it.
This week’s guest was Angelina Lippert, Chief Curator at the Posterhouse museum in New York City. Posterhouse is the first museum in the US that is solely dedicated to craft of poster design, and is dedicated to exploring “the enormous impact of posters on society and culture, and how they have been adapted to contemporary use.” It’s a beautiful museum sandwiched between Chelsea and the Flatiron District and absolutely worth visiting next time you’re in NYC.
Angelina and Charles discuss several artists and specific posters in the episode; we’ve included images of (most of) those posters here so you can follow along:
Medea (1972) by Josef Müller-Brockmann.
Kub (1931) by Leonetto Cappiello (image c/o Omnibus Gallery)
Peter Pathe/Maria Hagen (c. 1918) by Walter Schnackenberg (Image c/o Swann Auction Galleries).
Job (1896) by Alphonse Mucha.
Harper’s (1894) by Edward Penfield (image c/o Swann Auction Galleries).
Vin Mariani (1897) by Jules Chéret (image c/o Chirstopher Clark Fine Art).
Die Zeitung (1958) by Emil Ruder (image c/o Posterhouse).
Palais de Glace (1896) by Jules Chéret (image c/o Omnibus Gallery).
Pastilles Géraudel (1895) by Jules Chéret (image c/o Swann Auction Galleries).
Angelina grew up on the Jersey Shore and went to Smith with the intention of becoming a virologist (“my time would be now!” she tells Nix in the episode) before making a slight left-hand turn into art history. German expressionism and eventually the Russian avant-garde, to be precise. A connection led to an internship at an auction gallery that specialized in posters, and Angelina was hooked.
“What I came to appreciate [about posters] rather quickly was kind of twofold,” she tells Nix. “First, a painting is the expression of an artist’s imagination or whatever they want it to be. It’s beautiful, but it’s not trying to convince you of anything necessarily. A poster is only good if it functions. Having a designer approach a problem and solve it through imagery through design is just really interesting.
“But a poster is also a historic document. A poster tells you how people consumed, what concerts they went to, what products were available at a given time, who was running for political office, who was at war with someone else. It tells you things that didn’t make the footnotes of a history book, the minutiae of society. I find them really interesting because they add texture to the life of an average person, their day-to-day life and history that we would never know about.”
If you’d like to dig deeper into the world of posters, Angelina suggested some good places to start (besides Posterhouse, of course):
Isle of Printing, Nashville, TN. While I’ve yet to visit this print shop in Nashville, I’ve been enjoying their output since last summer. They created great posters during the pandemic that I ended up running into as far away as Dallas, TX!
The Herb Lubalin Study Center, New York, NY. The Lubalin Center is one of the coolest collections in NYC. Their archive includes some of the most wonderful graphic design treasures, from packaging to magazines to posters — and you can visit them by appointment!
Letterform Archive, San Francisco, CA. My West Coast brethren! Letterform Archive is the best graphic design repository on the West Coast and I’ve loved collaborating with them over the years. If you can’t visit me at Poster House, visit them! Also, major shout out to their great lecture/salon series!
Poster Conservation, Stamford, CT. People always ask me where to get their posters restored or preserved. The people at Poster Conservation are a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about how one conserves vintage advertising art.