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«Cooling off»

We all need to refresh and revitalise our bodies from time to time. That’s why we’re attracted to water where we can dive in and cool off. In urban centres, organised swimming took off in the 1930s with the creation of numerous public baths. These enabled men and women from all walks of life to enjoy swimming either separately or together. This period saw a boom in advertising for the newly built bathing facilities on riversides and lakeshores. The selected posters focus in part on the architecture of Swiss baths, many of which are now listed structures. But they also frequently depict the androgynous, toned bodies of women focused on their activities. Today, the pleasure of swimming is second nature to us and hardly requires advertising. 

Drinks to relax and revitalise the body date back to ancient Roman times.  The posters on display represent eight decades of Swiss consumer posters. The promotion of both new and established products that promise refreshment continues to this day.

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Anonymous
Image source: Jules Geiger
Release date 1938
Flims
Martin Peikert
Release date 1932
Strandbad Interlaken
 
Hans Meyenhofer
Release date 1935
Strandbad Weinfelden
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Anonymous
Release date 1932
Heizbares Schwimm  und Freiluftbad – Engelberg
 
Etienne Clare
Release date 1935
Thun – Plage – Strandbad
 
 
Johann Peter Flück
Release date 1930
Strandbad Brienz – Berner Oberland
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Daniele Buzzi
Release date 1928
Locarno Plage – Wassersport
 
Anonymous
Release date 1933
Badesport in der Schweiz
 
Jakob Weder
Release date 1934
Diepoldsau
None
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Erica von Kager
Release date 1932
Zweisimmen – Alpines Schwimm- & Sonnenbad
Anonymous
Release date 1933
Kommt ins Strandbad Arbon
 
Lisel Zipf
Release date 1931
Château d'Oex
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Anonymous
Release date 1945
Hotel & Strandbad Lützelau Weggis – Vierwaldstättersee
Jules Ami Courvoisier
Release date 1930
Genève-Plage
 
Otto Baumberger
Release date 1929
Gstaad – Das elegante Schwimmbad im Berner Oberland
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Johann Emil Müller
Release date 1926
Lausanne Ouchy – Plage 
Fons Matthias Hickmann
Image source: Büro für Fotos Köln
Release date 2000
Open Air Konzert 
Willy Trapp
Release date 1932
Strandbad Davos
 
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Anonymous (signature TS)
Release date 1930
Strandbad Spiez
 
Hugo Laubi
Release date 1918
Strandbad – Weggis
 
Albert Solbach
Release date 1932
Luzern – Lido
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Viktor Rutz
Release date 1937
Obi – Apfelsaft – fabelhaft
Advico Young & Rubicam AG / Ruedi Külling
Release date 1972
Sinalco
Viktor Rutz
Release date 1948
Limonade Orta – Widmann
 
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Donald Brun
Release date 1974
Perrier – Natürliches kohlensäurehaltiges Mineralwasser
Gérard Miedinger
Release date 1952
Vivi Kola
Donald Brun
Release date 1955
Schwarzenburger Tafelgetränke
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None
None
Hugo Laubi
Release date 1938
Obstsaft – Mosterei Zweifel Höngg
Anonymous
Release date 1940
Vivi Kola – es war herrlich (Plakatentwurf)
Walker Agency AG / Pius Walker
Release date 2017
Passugger – Quelle der Gastfreundschaft seit 1896
None
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None
Viktor Rutz
Release date 1947
Henniez Lithinée – Eau de table par excellence
Herbert Leupin
Release date 1945
Eptinger
Advico Young & Rubicam AG / Ruedi Külling
Release date 1968
Sinalco ...erfrischend fruchtig

In a brief interview, Bettina Richter explains her role as Curator at the Museum für Gestaltung and shares some fascinating insights into the Zurich poster collection.

What does a collection curator’s work involve?
Every museum collection involves the same basic tasks. The first is to expand the inventory through regular additions, and look after and preserve the individual objects. The objects in the collection also have to be scientifically catalogued and made publicly accessible in a suitable form. 
In terms of the poster collection, I am responsible for the collection policy – in other words, the expansion of inventory according to a set collection concept. Each year, the poster collection grows by between 2,000 and 3,000 pieces. I am the editor of the publication series Poster Collection, each annual edition of which presents posters from the collection by a particular artist or based around a particular theme. I also curate regular exhibitions in various formats, which introduce the full diversity of the poster as a medium while also contributing to the history of graphic design. 
With a team of photographers, documentalists and restorers, we photograph the posters selected for a collection and catalogue them in a database according to academic criteria. Depending on their condition, they are restored and stored for the long term in our archive, which complies with the latest conservation guidelines. As soon as a poster has gone through this complex input process, it is available for research by third parties. We lend our posters to museums around the world and send images to international publications on request. 

 

What is the profile of the Zurich poster collection?
The poster collection is the only international collection of its kind in Switzerland. The oldest posters date back to around 1870, when the first ‘illustrated posters’, in the modern sense, emerged. Naturally, there is a geographical aspect to the collection, with a strong focus on Swiss posters. But thematically, there is no limit on the collection; we collect cultural, consumer and tourism posters, as well as political and social posters right up to the present day. The collection documents developments in the global history of poster and graphic design, but its role is also to provide evidence of everyday cultural change.

 

How do you select objects and get them into the collection?
In addition to international and Swiss designers, we have cultural institutions, printing companies and the Allgemeine Plakatgesellschaft APG|SGA regularly offering us posters for inclusion in the archive, which I carefully examine according to our collection profile. To supplement the historical inventory, we often manage to acquire rare items through auction houses and private collectors. And we also get extensive donations through bequests. For reasons of time, I prefer active poster acquisition in the context of exhibitions or publication projects. This involves visits to Swiss and international studios and archives.
 

Poster collection, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich

The poster collection at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich is one of the most comprehensive and important archives of its kind in the world. It contains around 350,000 objects, with about 120,000 catalogued, all documenting the national and international history of the poster from its origins in the mid-19th century to the present day.  The collection includes political, cultural and commercial posters. Their diversity of historical, thematic and geographic subjects results in both a panorama of poster art and a glimpse into a visual archive of day-to-day life. Part of the collection is available to view in an online catalogue: www.emuseum.ch 

 

Rights

The images in this online exhibition are part of the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich’s digital poster collection and are for illustration purposes only. Publication of the images or other commercial use for the benefit of third parties is not permitted without the permission of the copyright holders. For information on ordering image templates: sammlungen@museum-gestaltung.ch