1911 Hermann Scherrer poster by Ludwig Hohlwein
Ludwig Hohlwein and the Hermann Scherrer style:
Poster historian Alain Weill comments that “Hohlwein was the most prolific and brilliant German posterist of the twentieth 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 work relied mostly on strong figurative elements with reductive qualities of high contrast, intense flat color, and bold patterns of geometric elements. This is evident in his iconographic poster for Hermann Scherrer. The figurative element of the man is optically centered in the field of the poster with no apparent horizon line. The well-dressed gentleman and his riding accessories, as well as his pure-bred dog, are all represented in a reductive, stark manner combined with vivid color and an abstract, black-and-white checkerboard pattern. Here, Hohlwein treats this distinctive pattern as a two-dimensional plane. It is in extreme contrast to the surrounding three-dimensional compositional elements, creating a strong and memorable focal point for the poster.