Plakatkunst im Tourismus, 120 Beispiele aus Tirol
P. Koeck, M. Forcher; Haymonverlag, Innsbruck, Austria (1999), fax +43-512-576 300; 192 pages, 120 full page color reproductions, 29 x 24 cm, hardcover; ISBN 3-85218-194-1; AUS 790.00 (about 70 US$); in german
The cover is based on part of a 1989 poster by Chryseldis Hofer
Austria is in many respects a white area on the european poster map, notwithstanding the recent CD publication on early austrian cinema posters, or the current exhibition on austrian prewar posters. It is not clear to me whether there are relatively few posters and therefore also few publications, or if it is just the other way round, but austrian posters rarely turn up in international auctions, for example.
Anyway, this publication fills a gap and sheds some light on austrian tourist posters from the last hundred years for the Tyrol region in western Austria, bordering on Italy. Actually, the first poster shown is from 1885 and advertises a shooting festival in Innsbruck, the newest is a photographic poster by the american photographer Kurt Markus for a campaign "Strong Country" by the Tyrolean Tourist Board. As can be seen from the examples below, a wide range of styles has developed during that time, reflecting also a change in concepts on how tourism should be promoted.
In a 25 page chapter, Michael Forcher, publisher and historian, explains the history of tourism, that was always an important source of income for this alpine region, revealing details like the amusing story that many mountain roads were closed to automobiles until the 1920s because the farmers feared for the safety of their cows and chickens.
Each of the 125 posters is accompanied by a half-page text with extensive information on designer, content and background, from Petra Koeck who wrote her master's thesis in art history on tourist posters, and later found a job with the Tourist Board. What an ideal combination to write such a book! She has identified more than 40 designers, some well know as the Tyrol born Franz Lenhart, who is often considered an italian designer, or Arthur Zelger who is represented in the book with 14 works, but I also found many names that were previously unknown to me.
The book has an index of artists and place names, and is well designed, printed and bound. Most of the posters are either from the Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, from Tirol Werbung in Innsbruck or from private collections.
A welcome addition to my poster library.