The Joy of Recognition

plakatmuseum.1.sal. Genkendelsens glæde

The Danish Poster Museum’s permanent exhibition, The Joy of Recognition, can be seen on the upper floor of the museum. It includes a hundred of the best-loved posters from the period 1900-2008, designed by the leading Danish poster artists of the period.

A poster is thought out in the present moment, and is not designed for a long life. Thousands and thousands of posters have vanished into oblivion, but a very mixed bunch have nevertheless survived beyond their immediate message and risen above their own period. They possess a quality and force, or show humour or an artistic touch that enables them to live on, long after their actual purpose has been fulfilled. The motifs have touched something universal that transcends time, so they still appeal to us and seem relevant today. These are the posters we recognise and remember, and still enjoy looking at, so they are the ones we call classics.

The Danish Poster Museum shows a permanent exhibition entitled The Joy of Recognition, with a selection of classic posters from the last hundred years. The emphasis is on the period from 1900 to 1950, but the selection includes posters right up to 2008, to take in the more recent poster artists who have stood out in the last few decades, and who can already be considered classics.

The exhibition outlines briefly the emergence of the modern poster, and gives a glimpse into the technique of lithography, which was most widespread in the first fifty years of modern posters. Visitors can also see and return to the great early classics by Aage Rasmussen, Aage Sikker Hansen, Arne Ungermann, Viggo Vagnby, Ib Antoni, Henrik Hansen and a great many others. They can also see more recent classics, such as Per Arnoldi’s iconic railway posters, Finn Nygaard’s jazz posters, or Mikael Witte's penicillin pig that exudes health and wellbeing.

The Joy of Recognition gives a good impression of how Danish posters have developed, both graphically and historically.

Erik Ludvig Henningsen's most famous poster from 1900.
Poster by Aage Sikker Hansen
By Gerda Wegener from 1911.