Johan Thorn-Prikker
Dutch, 1868 - 1932
S. Lankhout & Co., publisher
Holländische Kunstausstellung (Dutch Art Exhibition), 1903

image:   H. 33 5/8 x W. 47 1/8 in.
sheet:   H. 39 1/2 x W. 53 in.

For Johan Thorn Prikker, poster design was not a sideline pursuit. It was an important part of his oeuvre. Dutch by birth, he spent much of his career in Germany. An exhibition poster for the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld, the claw-like motifs and primary colors of this 1903 design convey Prikker’s anticipation of the fragmentation and dynamism of German Expression over the languid line of Art Nouveau.

Jugendstil designers rejected traditional methods of typography in favor of unique display typefaces that blended harmoniously with the image. Prikker (one of Holland’s significant Art Nouveau proponents) reveals an all-purpose use of a traditional Gothic lettering. (The Germans actually produced the first Art Nouveau typeface, designed by Otto Eckmann for the Klingspor Typefoundary and sold to printers throughout Europe.) The expressive abstract decoration complements the artist’s well-known batiked fabrics.