Jerzy Treutler. Graphic designer. Retrospective
Jerzy Treutler. Graphic designer. Retrospective
7 August - 15 November 2020
Format B1 Gallery
Poster Museum in Wilanów
Curator: Ewa Reeves
Jerzy Ryszard Treutler, hereafter referred to as JRT, was born on 31st May 1931 in Poland’s Kujawy region, in Beszyn. Following the outbreak of World War II, the whole family was displaced by the Germans and ended up in Warsaw, where they eventually remained permanently, since the post-war land reform imposed by the People's Republic of Poland expropriated them from their family home and confiscated their workshops. JRT was enrolled in six consecutive primary and secondary schools, these changes being due solely to the disruptions of war. He passed his final exams in 1949 at the Wojciech Górski School dedicated to Saint Adalbert in Warsaw and in the same year began studying at Warsaw’s College of Fine Arts (WSSP) on Myśliwiecka Street. Upon the College being merged with the Academy of Fine Arts, he continued his studies at its Graphics Faculty, in the so-called "artistic" Drypoint Graphics Studio headed by Professor Tadeusz Kulisiewicz and his assistant Halina Chrostowska. He earned his degree in 1955 and immediately began his professional career, but in the field of applied graphics instead of the specialty he had studied. He had worked in this medium previously, during his studies – initially in a three-man team of students, and then independently as a young designer.
He began with smaller graphic forms: drawings for the press, leaflets or announcements, then later also designed book covers and illustrations, and finally A1 and B1 format posters. He also became involved in other types of graphics: drawing studies, press and satirical drawings, exlibris labels, and trademark designs – though rather sporadically. Posters were and would remain throughout his life his main interest, covering a variety of topics. In total, he designed over two hundred posters over 50 years. At the same time, he designed about a hundred book covers, illustrations, satirical drawings, etc. For several of those years he worked part-time as an advisor, art director, and finally chief graphic designer in various publishing institutions and as a contemporary art expert in the Ministry of Culture and Art.
His professional activity followed three paths: individual graphic design, artistic supervision and work as an expert, juror and consultant. His creative activities decidedly took first place; the variety of functions he performed however allowed for a more objective view and assessment of works presented by other artists, this playing an important role in his work on the jury of various competitions.
He worked as an independent designer for a considerable number of publishing houses and institutions. Since 1955 Jerzy Treutler was a member of ZPAP (Polish Artists Association), awarded with a Golden Medal.
Though JRT only occasionally participated in various types of competitions and exhibitions, his works formed part of our country’s artistic and cultural life for over half a century – from the end of the 1950s to almost the present day.
For the Central Film Distributor he fulfilled commissions for a total of about 90 film posters, for the Central Art Exhibitions Office about 40 catalogues and dozens of posters for individual and collective exhibitions, and for the WAG Art and Graphics Publishing House (later the KAW National Publishing Agency) a significant number of posters for among other things sporting events and travel, as well as social issues. He belonged to a quite small group of graphic designers who carried out commissions for circus posters JRT's posters covering a variety of topics – from political, through cultural events, to social issues – were entered in the regularly held competition for the Best Warsaw Poster, winning several monthly distinctions and the 1977 annual award for best motivational or social issue poster. He regularly participated in the most important artistic events of those years, successive International Poster Biennales in Warsaw and Polish Poster Biennales in Katowice; he also participated in Biennales held in Lahti (Finland) and the International Movie Poster Exhibition in Karlovy Vary (Czechoslovakia). His works have been presented at collective exhibitions of Polish posters in over twenty countries, mainly in Europe, but also overseas.
In his portfolio one may find study drawings, as an important base for his creation: silhouettes, drawings of animals, fragments of architecture, quick sketches in crayon or pencil or felt-tip pen. In the field of purely applied graphics JRT also, though very rarely, undertook the design of trademarks, including in 1958 the logo for the state-owned enterprise Moda Polska (Polish Fashion) – its well-known Swallow, which earned him popularity among the company's male and female customers and is to this day cited as an example of the best Polish logos of the 1960s.