Otto Baumberger

The Zurich-born artist Otto Baumberger was among the most brilliant and daring key figures in Swiss poster design between 1910 and 1930. He is often called the originator of the Swiss poster, and rightly so. His poster works include more than 200 designs, most of which he lithographed himself at the renowned J.E. Wolfensberger printing company. The period between 1915 and 1920 was an especially productive one, during which many of his most extraordinary posters were created: simple, ornamental, almost architectural designs.

Although he saw his own work as “commercial art” and not as “true art”, Baumberger’s poster oeuvre is seen as unique: they are still highly recognisable, his linear and emphatically representational posters for the Zurich Theatre, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the cafés, the car exhibitions, the Zurich international air shows, for numerous businesses and department stores such as Forster carpets, Jelmoli, PKZ, Seiden-Grieder, Fein-Kaller and Baumann milliner. Baumberger also produced brilliant results for his commissions from tourist resorts: his travel posters are matter-of-fact yet very picturesque and still exude an inviting atmosphere that puts even 21st-century viewers in a holiday mood.