Ludwig Hohlwein (27 July 1874 in Wiesbaden – 15 September 1949 in Berchtesgaden) was a German poster artist. He was trained and practiced as an architect until 1906, when he switched to poster design. Hohlwein's adaptations of photographic images was based on a deep and intuitive understanding of graphical principles. His creative use of color and architectural compositions dispels any suggestion that he uses photos as a substitute for creative design.
The Early Years
Hohlwein was born in the Rhine-Main region of Germany, though he and his work are associated with Munich and Bavaria in southern Germany. There were two schools of "Gebrauchsgrafik" in Germany at the time, North and South. Hohlwein's high tonal contrasts and a network of interlocking shapes made his work instantly recognizable.
Poster historian Alain Weill comments that "Hohlwein was the most prolific and brilliant German posterist of the 20th century... Beginning with his first efforts, Hohlwein found his style with disconcerting facility. It would vary little for the next forty years. The drawing was perfect from the start, nothing seemed alien to him, and in any case, nothing posed a problem for him. His figures are full of touches of color and a play of light and shade that brings them out of their background and gives them substance"
Hohlwein's most artistically important phase was before World War II in the years 1912-1925. A large variety of his best posters dates to this period. He developed his own distinct style with sharply defined forms, bright colors and a good portion of humor. By 1925, he had already designed 3000 different advertisements.
1910 poster for a Richard Strauss festival
- Weill, Alain, The Poster a Worldwide Survey and History, G K Hall, 1985, ISBN 978-0-8161-8746-1
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