Ludwig Hohlwein

Ludwig Hohlwein was a German born artist who lived between the years 1874 and 1949. Originally, Hohlwein practiced as an architect up until 1906, when he decided to primarily focus on poster design, which he is known for. It is important to know that Hohlwein’s most known art was just prior to World War 2. His poster style is recognized by his use of color, shading, contrast and simplicity.w1siziisijixmty1mijdlfsiccisimnvbnzlcnqilcitcmvzaxplidiwmdb4mjawmfx1mdazzsjdxq His identity as a graphic designer was established around 1911 through his poster for Hermann Scherrer, a men’s clothing brand. The piece was called Breechesmaker, Sporting Taylor. The poster was done in Sachplakat style and was simplified like the Beggerstaff brothers’ work. However, Hohlwein had a unique style unlike those around him. His style can be described as a hybrid of the simplicity of Sachplakat with an aristocratic vibe and elegance. The tamed dog and equestrian equipment suggest a lifestyle which is of the upper class and luxury. Hohlwein’s poster designs had vivid colors with patterning that was abstract. This separated Hohlwein from other artists who utilized Sachplakat style in their art. For example, the black and white checkered patterning on the man’s bottom half creates a two-dimensional look that contrasts with its surroundings which have a more three-dimensional and realistic element to them.


Another piece that Hohlwein created was a poster for the Marco Polo Tee Company, which displays the product in an exotic and complimenting manner, similar to that of Art Nouveau posters. The piece puts the viewer in the perspective of a wealthy person who is being brought the product by their servant. The servant in this piece is depicted as an African man. As customs have changed and progressed, it is difficult for viewers today to see this poster outside the context of Africa being taken over by Europeans, which at the time, was very relevant as it was made amidst the uprising of Germany’s empire.

Ludwig Hohlwein was a man who became known for his unique use of depth, patterns and color in his designing of posters which at the time was unique and helped him become successful in the realm of clothing and retail. However, as the environment around him changed, so did his art. A key aspect in Hohlwein’s legacy is the uprising of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany as he made posters for them. His style became more masculine and intense, portraying Aryan idealism. Despite Hohlwein’s talent for design and his unique skills, his legacy was tarnished because of his relationship with the Nazi party.

Eskilson, Stephen. Graphic Design: A New History. 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale UP, 2007. Print.


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