Advertising Art Collection

Containing over 30,000 items, the Advertising Art Collection at the Münchner Stadtmuseum is renowned for its treasure trove of exhibits, above all from around the start of the 20th century. The collection extends from the earliest days of poster production in the 19th century through to the present day. It also boasts an impressive selection of international posters, above all from the areas of politics, art and business. Items created by well-known artists are included, as are outstanding examples of innovative design and posters documenting everyday life.

The origins of the collection trace back to the end of the 19th century when the Münchner Stadtmuseum first opened its doors. The broad spectrum of exhibits relating to the history of poster design in Munich gives the collection its unique focus. Posters bearing a close association with the city – either because their subject matter is related to Munich, they were printed in Munich, or the artists and designers came from Munich – make up some two thirds of the entire stocks and dominate the collection in terms of both quantity and quality.

The posters are complemented by around 15,000 poster stamps, newspaper and magazine ads and invitation cards, as well as labels, stickers and various other small-format commercial art items. Many of them were designed by the same artists who created the posters.

Around 1900, Munich – already the capital of poster design in southern Germany – joined Berlin as one of the two main centers for poster production in Germany. Above all, the posters produced by the so-called Schwabing artists stood out from traditional designs of the era thanks to their imagination and brilliant graphics. Thomas Theodor Heine (1867-1948), one of Germany's most famous poster artists, created the aggressive red bulldog as a caricature for the satirical magazine "Simplicissimus." An icon in its own right, this dog soon became synonymous with the magazine and featured on one of Germany's first modern posters. At the start of the 20th century, artists like Heine not only helped spread the fame of Munich's poster designers; they also impressively documented Munich's reputation as an arts center.