This is the eGuide number for the object. You can find it next to selected objects in the exhibition.
This is the location number for the object.
Click here to go to the main menu.
Click here to change languages.
Click here to change the font size and log in.
Click here to show the location of the object.
Zoom with two fingers and rotate images 360° with one finger. Swipe an object to the side to see the next one.
Click here for background information, biographies, legends, etc.
Click here to listen to spoken texts or audio files.
Share an object.
Download as PDF.
Add to saved objects.
Poster, Dentifrices Gellé Frères, 1927
Jean Carlu
Poster, Dentifrices Gellé Frères,
Jean Carlu,

Poster, Dentifrices Gellé Frères,

Jean Carlu
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Ausstellungsstrasse 60
8031 Zurich
Museum map
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 94
8031 Zurich
  • Dentifrices Gellé Frères Jean Carlu
Écouter le text

A geometric formal vocabulary indebted to Cubism and a reduced, flattened mode of depiction are the salient features of the early posters by Jean Carlu (1900–1997), one of the leading poster designers in France in the 1920s and 1930s. The absence of any illustration of the product being advertised made his large-format toothpaste poster from 1927 a visual sensation.

That Jean Carlu came from a family of architects and himself intended to practice that profession is evident from the extraordinary degree of abstraction in his posters. After losing his right arm in an accident, he devoted himself instead to graphic art. Carlu designed a poster in 1927 for the perfume and toiletries purveyor Gellé Frères that does not feature the advertised product. Instead, the radiant white triangle glowing from the silhouette of a head rendered in similarly reduced format conveys only the product’s effect. Without any narrative details, the male profile is set off before a black geometric shape that roughly echoes its contours. The sharp edges of the black area on the left are dissolved on the right using a spray effect, diffusing into the bold red of the head. The typography, which sets another unusual color accent, is in the Art Deco style of the era. Starting in 1930, Carlu made more frequent use of photomontage. His 1930 poster for the Salon Commercial in Paris, for example, quotes the profile head in his toothpaste poster, but he gives it a face by duplicating the profile in a small portrait photo. In 1941, Carlu temporarily emigrated to the United States, where he devoted his graphic art to political activism and designed impressive appeals for peace. He was a longstanding president of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and a guest at Documenta 3 in Kassel in 1964. (Bettina Richter)

Plakat, Dentifrices Gellé Frères, 1927
Erscheinungsland: Frankreich
Gestaltung: Jean Carlu
Auftrag: Gellé Frères, Paris, FR
Material/Technik: Lithografie
150 × 100 cm
Eigentum: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Phaidon (Hg.), The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design, Berlin 2012, ID E042

Image creditso

Plakat, Dentifrices Gellé Frères, 1927, Frankreich, Gestaltung: Jean Carlu
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Plakat, 11e salon commercial – Organisation, 1930, Frankreich, Gestaltung: Jean Carlu, Fotografie: Lucien Lorelle
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK