June 10, 2022

Polish Circus Posters

Polish circus posters stand out as a distinct current in Polish poster art, which was a unique phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s. The movement developed as part of the then-thriving Polish School of Posters, which is now well-known both in Poland and abroad.

The style of circus posters was characterized by a modern yet stylistically diverse artistic language, distinguished by exceptional expression, comicness, charm, and wit, typical of the entire Polish School of Posters. The circus atmosphere was expressed by the humor in the works, being frequently entwined with irony, grotesque, or drama typical of circus spectacles.

Circus posters dazzle with their vivid colors, a wide range of shapes, and a variety of representations. Curiously, they promoted the circus phenomenon itself as a unique form of entertainment rather than specific acts. Circus posters have diverted from their original purpose as advertisements and transformed into works of art, and are now a treat for collectors.

The United Entertainment Enterprises began commissioning famous Polish artists to create circus posters at the beginning of the 1960s. These posters did not promote any particular depictions or circus ensembles, and they did not serve as literal illustrations. Reaching for metaphors or symbols, artists imaginatively incorporated a circus-like setting into their works. For decades, artists created entire collections of posters full of humor, expression, and grace, which gave birth to the remarkable phenomenon of circus posters in the history of the Polish School of Posters. The success was huge, as testified by the fact that circus posters became synonymous with Polish poster art in general in the international arena. 

The presented projects don't really resemble typical circus posters, defying established patterns and expectations. Ever since Polish artists started dealing with creating Polish circus posters, everything was in compliance with Professor Henryk Tomaszewski's instructions. Painterly style, ascetic graphic forms, simple drawing style, and authorial lettering were predominant in the works. The concept was the most crucial element apart from the technique; the more abstract and synthetic the work was, the better. In the past, circus posters were supposed to advertise the offer to the general public, typically presenting the entire circus team, the program, the locations, and the cost of the tickets.

Due to the extensive production, original Polish circus posters are still widely available on the Polish market. We recommend looking for original 1960s and 1970s works by the best artists. Their charm will definitely enhance your interiors and make them more interesting. Moreover, these posters will allow you to bring great, contemporary art into your home.