CYRK: Vintage Polish Circus Posters

CYRK: Vintage Polish Circus Posters

Annie Werbler
Mar 22, 2010

Store History

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My personal favorite find at the Home Show this year was a collection of vintage circus posters created during Poland's communist era. The bold, colorful, seemingly-fun designs incorporate subversive themes if you take a closer look.

During the communist years between 1945 and 1989, Poland didn't produce many goods, so the government decided to activate the culture and creativity within its people as a substitute for economic capital. They hired artists to make beautiful posters for the circus to advertise when the show was coming. There's a common Y shape hidden within many of the pieces, a symbol of the resistance movement in which many artists participated. Because the work itself had to be approved by the Polish government before production, these artists skillfully hid meaning in shapes, analogies, and patterns.

As decorative items, they are reasonably-priced original prints that feature gorgeous hand-lettering and vibrant inks. Pieces with scribbled-on edits are even more fascinating. You can find a large collection of these historical CYRK designs at Contemporary Posters.

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