Donald Brun, Swiss (1909 - 1999)

Donald Brun

Donald Brun was unique amongst the large roster of brilliant Swiss posterists of the golden era, prior to 1970, inasmuch as his designs were not primarily intent upon dazzling prowess but upon awakening little moments that mean so much.

A good example of the inflection in his work, on the basis of money-in-the-bank lifelikeness, is the work, from 1946, for Bata sports shoes. Here we have the spiffy product and jaunty bit of fun-seeker’s ankle—like so many other Swiss designs perfect as far as it goes (and the evocative range of the object poster does go a long way). But we also have a touch that is Brun’s alone—a grasshopper from the rough terrain easily covered by those great rubber soles and flexible and aerated tops. The little guy is smiling—first of all in admiration of the purchase; but also because it’s a beautiful day in a beautiful place, and he welcomes the company. It shows no breathtaking landscape, but (notwithstanding the sober price tag), its of-the-moment creature and its funny little legs that jump for joy bring into the picture special times we all want to revisit.

Brun’s special attention to the engaging powers of highly sensuous events resulted in an output heavily invested in the particularly physical phenomena of animals and children. An instance emphasizing that resource is the ad for knitting yarn, Zwicky, with its silky black cat as a soulmate to the irresistible product. This infatuating transaction is underlined by a second edition that installs the graphic on a wall as grabbing the attention of the impressionable white kitty. Not only do these two posters show an attractive kick, but they go on to treat us to the wit and fun connected with that fluency with earthiness.

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