During the five years it took me to write The Life and Art of Julius Klinger: Beyond Poster Art in Vienna, I often wondered what I was doing. Because book writing is a fairly solitary research-centric, crazy-making hobby, my friends and family began to question my focus (sanity) and determination.
I had never written a book.
I wasn’t an academic.
Julius Klinger wasn’t a poster artist many people had heard of.
To be honest, there were times when even I began to question my own focus (read: sanity) and determination.
The book is a testament to what can be accomplished when you set your mind to a task and create – by sheer will – the environment within which to accomplish that task. It’s not a perfect book, but it’s as close to perfect as I could make it.
It was while researching the book that I discovered — through my (now) friend Susan Reinhold — the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami. She alerted me to the fact that the Wolf had vast Klinger holdings, and suggested that perhaps the Museum would be able to help me locate Klinger posters and ephemera that could be used in the book. I believe that the Wolfsonian itself was surprised at how many Klinger posters they had in their possession – so much so that they were compelled to create a Klinger-centric exhibition (which opens tomorrow!)
The exhibition – which I previewed today with its guest curator Jeremy Aynsley – is spectacular. It features Klinger’s posters, book covers, typography, and illustrations in exhibition halls at the Wolfsonian which have been designed to highlight the color, humor and skill that Klinger brought to each of his commissions. Skillfully combining large posters with smaller-scale works, Jeremy has contextualized the exhibition with artifacts – ceramics, bronzes, lace – from the Wolfsonian’s enormous holdings … resulting in a show that humanizes both the art and the artist.
When I began the journey that resulted in The Life and Art of Julius Klinger: Beyond Poster Art in Vienna, I never could have imagined the interesting people that I would meet, the incredible learning that I would undertake, and the exceptional exhibition that is about to open. I feel very grateful to have been part of this process, and I think Julius Klinger would be very happy indeed to see his posters exhibited, admired and discussed.