Original contemporary/vintage polish posters

(1950s-1990s) - the antique & vintage art posters of tomorrow...the art investment for the future;
from the world-famous Polish School of Posters, recognized as the best in contemporary poster art comparable to France's La Belle Epoque of the 1890s.
Polish Posters
Solidarity poster

  (Click poster for larger image)  
  1980  Solidarity poster  2020  
  Celebrating the
40th Anniversary
of Solidarity (SOLIDARNOSC)!

Now, you, too, can have a piece of history in your lifetime - your own Solidarity (SOLIDARNOSC) poster. The same poster that helped the Polish people win their freedom - the poster that served as a visual rallying symbol for defeating Communism.

Tomasz Sarnecki (1966-2018), a young Polish graphic designer, transformed a publicity still of Gary Cooper striding down the street in the famous film High Noon (1952) into a campaign poster for the crucial 1989 Polish elections. The poster was displayed all over Poland, encouraging voters to end Communist control of Poland. The 1989 elections - the first democratic election in Eastern Europe since 1946 - finally brought to power Lech Walesa and the once outlawed Solidarity Party. (In 1980, after a rash of nationwide strikes, Solidarity gained recognition as the first legal independent trade union in a Soviet controlled country.) The year 2020 marked the 40th Anniversary of Solidarity -- 1980-2020.

In the Solidarity (SOLIDARNOSC) poster, Sarnecki portrays Cooper armed with a folded ballot for Poland's Solidarity Party in his right hand & wearing the Solidarity (SOLIDARNOSC) logo above his sheriff's badge in a showdown with Communist 'bandits'. The message at the bottom is short and to the point: "W SAMO POLUDNIE 4 CZERWCA 1989" - It's High Noon, June 4, 1989.

This special edition poster (27 1/2"w x 39 1/2"h) was printed in 1999 in Poland in a limited quantity by the artist in honor of the 10th Anniversary of Solidarity.

[Today, the 1989 poster is almost impossible to find since the few which have survived are incredibly valuable - artistically, historically as well as monetarily.]

The Writing on the Wall

By Isia Jasiewicz
Published Jul 24, 2009 From the magazine issue dated Aug 3, 2009

It was a Sunday morning in 1989, and Gary Cooper was all over Warsaw. Nearly 10,000 posters, plastered around the city at daybreak, bore the image of the marshal from the 1952 Western High Noon. His photograph was black and white, save for the red Solidarity logo placed on his chest, and he carried a paper ballot in place of a pistol. The poster's inscription was simple: IT'S HIGH NOON, JUNE 4, 1989. That paper sheriff was on a mission: to encourage Poles to vote for Solidarity in that day's parliamentary elections. In the Western, the hero always wins; in the elections, Solidarity secured a landslide victory, and the High Noon poster became an emblem of triumph and new beginning. Yet the poster itself marked an ending. It was the last great work of the Polish Poster School. Half a century before Twitter became the medium of choice for underground communications in Iran, artistically innovative Poles used the power of images to slip subversive messages past the communist watchdogs. In an age when "print" means "old," and visual appeal takes a back seat to speed, it's hard to believe what a powerful weapon lithography could once be. Twenty-four posters from the heyday of the Polish school are on view at New York's Museum of Modern Art until November. The works, clustered together as they would have been on a poster kiosk in Warsaw, chronicle a movement that actually benefited from the oversight of the communist regime. Posters advertising plays, films, circuses, and exhibitions were subject to strict control, but they also received state funding. Censorship also provided a strangely nurturing environment for creativity, especially in the way artists borrowed from surrealism and expressionism to develop a language of metaphor. In one poster advertising a 1981 production of Macbeth, the king's face appears trapped in a kind of brick bandage resembling a castle. His eyes are obscured, his jaw locked in place. To the censor, it showed a face with a castle; to the viewer, it could speak volumes about the blinding, mind-numbing danger of power. It's been 20 years since Cooper's marshal marched into Warsaw, leaving the country—and its posters—changed forever. Poles remembered his influence on the anniversary of the election this year by displaying an oversize reprint of the poster on Warsaw's Palace of Culture. But today, state support for artists is gone, and sales-driven, artless advertising is king. In Poland (as in the United States), visual culture is saturated with pop-up ads and all-too- obvious sales slogans. It's nearly impossible to find socially compelling commercial art. Maybe the Polish Poster School can take us back to that high noon, when a picture really could speak a thousand words. © 2009

High Noon - 4 June 1989

Photo #218 "High Noon - 4 June 1989" - Solidarnosc from the book:

"Solidarnosc, Twenty Years of History"
Over 280 unique photographs documenting the history of NSZZ "SOLIDARNOSC." Moments of hope and glory, martial law and III Rzeczpospolita (Republic of Poland) caught by the most famous photographers and amateurs. Pictures taken by demonstrators in secret and those kept in official communist archives. 250 pages.

Book available from Polish-American Bookstore, NYC, (212) 594-2386; Polish Bookstore & Publishing, Inc, Brooklyn, NY, (800) 277-0407, email: sales@polbook.com; your local Polish bookstore, or from publisher:
PAI S.A., Polska Agencja Informacyjna S.A., 00 - 585 Warszawa, ul. Bagatela 12, Poland, phone: (00 48) 22 -628 22 87, email: anetta@pal.pl

"From Peaceful Resolution
to Success in a New Europe:
Poland, 1980-2000

Conference at Columbia U. (NY)
Institute for The Study of Europe (ISE)
Dec. 1, 2000

Darrus Jadowski, Consul General & Pawel Potoroczyn, Cultural Institute, Consulate General of The Republic of Poland, NYC

Photo exhibit on 'The Polish August,' organized by 'The KARTA Center,' Warsaw, Poland

The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York
233 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Solidarnosc, Twenty Years of History
Photo Exhibit, Sept 15-20, 2000


President George Bush & Lech Walesa, Warsaw, 9/28/89

President Ronald Reagan & Lech Walesa, Gdensk shipyard, 1998

Poland joins NATO, Poland Minister of Foreign Affairs, B. Geremek & U. S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, K. C., MO, 3/12/99

Photos #218, #232, #233, #255 from the book "Solidarnosc, Twenty Years of History".

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