German artist Günther Kieser was born in 1930 in Kronberg, near Frankfurt. Trained at the Werkkunstschule in Offenbach, Kieser began his career as a free-lance artist in 1949 and founded a studio with Hans Michel in 1952. The two artists worked on projects for the German Mail Service and the Hesse radio network and started creating posters for Lippmann & Rau, founders of the first German Jazz concert agencies.
Over the next decade, Kieser and Michel would design posters for the concerts by Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, and John Coltrane.
When his partnership with Michel ended in 1962, Kieser continued to work primarily for Lippmann & Rau, producing posters that would become fixtures in the music scene. His posters were displayed in concert halls, bars and on billboards. His treatment of political topics and current issues gave his work an iconic look and feel. Keiser’s Jimi Hendrix Experience poster, 1969, is one of his most popular designs stamped in the memory of a post modern generation.
Kieser joined the Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation) in 1956 and became a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) in 1964. In 1981, he became a professor for Visual Communication at the Bergische Universität in Wuppertal, a position he held until 1992. Kieser has won numerous international awards, his work has been exhibited worldwide and his posters are part of every important museum collection.
Meggs’ History of Graphic Design categorizes Keiser in the European Visual Poet camp. He had an uncanny ability to visualize text as form as seen in many of his works, including the Jazz Band Ball poster. It is hard to believe Kieser’s work predates the digital age.
Solo exhibitions include: Lincoln Center, NY; Mexico City; Wuxi, China; Torun, Poland; Kornhaus Forum, Berne; Poster Museum, Essen; Museum of Arts and Crafts, Frankfurt, and others. According to the Alliance Graphique Internationale, “Günther Kieser is engaged in poster design, laying out clear principles of form and colour. Bound to strict aesthetic approaches, these posters are Kieser’s way of making contact with people and leading them to a responsible form of creation and interaction. Postermaking can be both a matter of power and a delightful and intelligent method of liberal communication. Instructive, not destructive – that is the central issue of his art.”
Günther Kieser passed away just days away from his 93rd birthday in March 2023.