Daily | Hans Hillmann, 1925 – 2014

Hans Hillmann

Hans Hillmann

Via Adrian Curry‘s outstanding tumblr Movie Poster of the Day, we learn that the highly influential graphic designer Hans Hillmann died last Sunday at the age of 88. Adrian points us to an entry at Fontblog, where Jürgen Siebert notes that Hillmann began making a mark on German film poster design in the 1950s, that his work appeared in such vital publications as twen, TransAtlantik and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and that, having taught at the Kunsthochschule in Kassel for over twenty years, he has left indelible traces throughout the field of German graphic design.

Last August, Adrian devoted a “Movie Poster of the Week” column at the Notebook to Hillmann, and the occasion was The Title Is Continued in the Picture, an exhibition at Museum Folkwang in Essen. The Museum calls Hillmann “one of the most creative and significant film poster designers in post-War Germany… Hillmann not only succeeded in his works in ignoring the formal language of the Nazi era, but also managed to avoid the carefree ‘loudness’ of Germany’s Economic Miracle years. His style was particularly inspired by the 1920s.” His movie posters won awards in Germany and abroad, and in 1964, his work was shown as part of documenta III.

Hillmann's Buñuel

Simple, powerful: Hillmann’s design for the poster for Buñuel’s ‘The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz’ (1955)

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung cultural editor Andreas Platthaus notes that Hillmann’s landmark 250-page Fliegenpapier, an interpretation in drawings of Dashiell Hammett’s 1929 short story “Fly Paper,” predated common usage of the term “graphic novel” when it appeared in 1982. Despite its legendary status, Fliegenpapier has been out of print since 2005—but just a few weeks ago, Hillmann agreed to have a new run printed up in conjunction with an exhibition to be staged in celebration of his 90th birthday. Hopefully, plans for both the exhibition and the new edition of Fliegenpapier are still on.

Update, 5/12: Revolver‘s posted the transcript of a 2007 interview (in German) as well as more stunning posters.

Updates, 5/14: “In 2008, I had the opportunity to speak with Hans about two upcoming Criterion releases, Louis Malle’s The Fire Within and The Lovers,” writes Sarah Habibi. “His talent was immeasurable.” She’s posted some of the images Hillmann sent her.

Christoph Hochhäusler has posted his essay on Fliegenpapier (in German).

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