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Film and Music Advertising

Ever since the mid-twentieth century, younger generations have seen musicians as lifestyle and fashion role models. Their avid interest in the recording industry helped spur the fad for displaying innovative poster art. In Grace Jones’s photographic poster for a 1981 album, her defiant, androgynous figure suggests not only new trends in fashion but a chic conflation of gender stereotypes and more liberal attitudes toward sexual difference. The film industry also continued to employ poster advertising that featured dramatic portraiture.

Throughout its history, the poster has proven to be remarkably flexible as an art form, adapting in each generation to emerging graphic styles, different industries, fresh marketing strategies, and new passions. Despite many new forms of advertising, a life-size stand-up of Johnny Depp from the Pirates of the Caribbean, or the same image in a banner two stories tall, still captures our attention, informing and entertaining us.

  Poster image   Poster image  
  Click to enlarge image Carmen Jones
Dorothy Dandridge
Unidentified artist, 1954
Color photolithographic poster with halftone
195.4 x 104.9 cm (76 15/16 x 41 5/16 in.)
National Portrait Gallery
© 20th Century Fox Film Corp.
  Click to enlarge image Qualcuno Volo’ Sul Nido del Cuculo (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
Jack Nicholson
Unidentified artist c. 1975
Color photolithographic poster with halftone
198.8 x 139.5 cm (78 1/4 x 54 15/16 in.)
National Portrait Gallery; acquired through the generosity of David C. Ward

  Poster image   Poster image    
  Click to enlarge image Apocalypse Now
Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen
Bob Peak, 1979
Color photolithographic halftone poster
104 x 68.6 cm (40 15/16 x 27 in.)
National Portrait Gallery; gift of Saul Zalesch
© 1979 Omni Zoetrope
  Click to enlarge image A Tribute to the Music of Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Niklaus Troxler, 1986
Color silkscreen poster
128 x 89.8 cm (50 3/8 x 35 3/8 in.)
National Portrait Gallery Division
© 1986 Grafik-Studio Niklaus Troxler Willisau/Siebdruk Bosh AG, Luzern
  Poster image   Poster image    
  Click to enlarge image Grace Jones/Nightclubbing
Grace Jones
Unidentified artist, c. 1981
Color photolithographic halftone poster
81.7 x 53.1 cm (32 3/16 x 20 7/8 in.)
National Portrait Gallery; gift of Chisholm Larsson Gallery

  Click to enlarge image Pirates of the Caribbean
Johnny Depp
Unidentified artist, 2003
Color photolithographic halftone poster stand-up
182.9 x 95.4 cm (72 x 37 9/16 in.)
National Portrait Gallery; gift of the John Daniel Reaves family
© Walt Disney Studios
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