“God made paper for drawing architecture on. Everything else – at least to me – is a misuse of paper.”
Alvar Aalto 1958
A unique series of Alvar Aalto Art Posters, published by the Alvar Aalto Foundation, is on sale from May 23. This first series of Alvar Aalto art posters is devoted to architecture exhibitions in Finland and abroad. They represent the selection of the Foundation’s poster collection. This first assortment of posters provides a splendid overview of the spectrum of Aalto architecture exhibitions from the 1960s to the 1990s.
These striking posters are a fragment of the history of exhibitions about Alvar Aalto’s (1898-1976) life’s work, but we can also see in them how poster graphics developed over four decades. The set of posters now being published are artworks of their time, due to their graphic identity and historical context, which makes them rare collector’s items. Posters for Alvar Aalto exhibitions have been unavailable since the original prints ran out. The new series has been produced as original-size facsimile prints made directly from the originals in the Museum’s collection.
“The absolute gem of the series is the poster for the Palazzo Strozzi exhibition in Florence in 1965, the subject chosen being a red-chalk sketch of Aalto’s own architect’s office in Tiilimäki, Helsinki,” says the Alvar Aalto Foundation’s Managing Director Tommi Lindh. The first-ever retrospective of the life’s work of the world-famous architect and designer was in Italy, familiar territory to Alvar Aalto. “This exhibition largely set the seal on Aalto’s international reputation, and also won over his home country a year later at the Ateneum, where it celebrated 50 years of Aalto’s career as an architect,” Lindh says.
These richly coloured posters record the handiwork of known and unknown graphic artists, who have frequently been inspired by Aalto’s buildings, design details, or sketch drawings. The posters were designed, for instance, by the architects Kaarlo Leppänen, Federico Marconi and Hannele Grönlund.
The Museum of Finnish Architecture collaborated with Alvar Aalto’s architect’s office to produce Aalto exhibitions in 1978-1990. The Alvar Aalto Museum’s first international exhibition was in Paris in 1989 and, from 1992 onwards, it sent out numerous exhibitions to tour the world. Aalto exhibitions hit a peak both in Finland and abroad in 1998, the year of Alvar Aalto’s 100th birthday. The exhibitions have made the architect and designer’s life’s work well-known on five continents – Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia.
The Alvar Aalto Art Posters form a separate product group in the online Alvar Aalto Shop. Posters can also be bought from the Alvar Aalto Museum’s shop in Jyväskylä and later also from Artek’s flagship store in Helsinki. They are part of the Alvar Aalto Foundation’s fundraising campaign, which seeks to secure the future of the Foundation’s operations and to preserve Alvar Aalto’s heritage.