On the European Film Gateway, EYE Film Institute Netherlands has made an impressive amount of posters from the Desmet Collection available for the first time. 850 beautiful posters from the period between 1907 and 1916 can be viewed and enjoyed. These posters from the 1910s provide a picture of a lesser known period in film history, and many of them are the only remnants of films that have been lost. From an artistic point of view, they reveal the essence of popular art in the nineteenth century, with fairytale scenes with elves (Nan in Fairyland) and gnomes, illustrations of orphans, shipwrecks (Auf einsamer Insel) and terrifying spirits. Other posters show crucial scenes of confrontations between characters in the film. We also witness the beginning of the appearance of stars on posters, such as Francesca Bertini, Harry Piel, and Henny Porten.
The humorous posters of Harry Bedos or Achille Luciano Mauzan and the dramatic designs of Vincent Lorant-Heilbronn (Anna Karenine, La Passion) stand out among the collection. We can also see the first signs of expressionist and constructivist posters (Paul Leni: Auf Abwegen, and the posters from the Werkstätten für Grafische Kunst, like Die Welt ohne Männer). The posters printed by Plakatkunstanstalt Dinse, Eckert & Co. (Der Geheimnisvolle Klub, Die Schwarze Natter) are very subtle and creative. American posters are mostly not credited to a designer and are less elaborate than the European posters, of which style contemporary posters still retain.
Read more about the Desmet Collection at www.eyefilm.nl.