“Sugar invigorates” – it was the most famous advertising slogan of the Polish interwar period for which its author – Melchior Wańkowicz obtained an astronomical fee. This amount was higher than fees for any of his books. Since the mid-20s the art connected to modern advertising has flourished.
Posters visible on the streets, newspapers, magazines, brochures and flyers started featuring advertisements for various products. From the most luxurious to the most commonly used ones.
Interwar Warsaw was a city of cafes and confectioneries. The social and artistic life flourished in such places. Mała Ziemiańska with its “literary” table, where Lechoń, Tuwim, Słonimski and invited guests used to sit each day, including bon vivant of the interwar period, beautiful and elegant Wieniawa-Długoszowski, became legendary.
People enjoyed the regained freedom and manifested it ostentatiously. They spent more time in their favourite places than in their own homes.
The biggest producers of sweets in Warsaw, that is: Wedel, Fruzinski, chocolate factory Plutos and well-known pastry shops benefited from such a situation. They competed as regards the colourful, eye-catching ads.
The best known graphic designers were hired to create such adds. Among them – there was the king of Polish advertising graphics – Tadeusz Gronowski, whose posters are a great example of art deco style.
Gronowski, also referred to as “Michelangelo of Warsaw”, “arbiter of elegance” and “symbol of the capital city” was a versatile artist: brilliant graphic artist, painter, illustrator and interior designer. He won numerous prestigious awards, among others, Grand Prix at the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Paris in 1925. He was popular and ubiquitous to such an extent that he became an object of an ironic commentary in Wiadomości Literackie. Słonimski joked that he was forced observe Gronowski’s art all day long, from the moment he got up in the morning and looked at his calendar.
We often admire works of Gronowski as well, not always realizing it.
The PLL LOT logo with the crane located in the letter “O” was designed by this very artist and has been used since 1929.
PS. In the interwar Warsaw people lived fast, greedily and in colourful manner. Once Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski made a bet with his friends. He was to climb stairs leading the first floor of Hotel Bristol on a horse. Of course, he won the bet.
Text: Marta Kropidłowska