This spring, art and music converge as The Historic New Orleans Collection highlights its recent acquisition of art posters made by Polish artist Waldemar Świerzy (1931-2013) featuring music legends. The exhibition "Giants of Jazz: Art Posters and Lithographs by Waldemar Świerzy from the Daguillard Collection" opens Friday, April 21, 2017.
A leader in the 20th-century tradition of Polish poster art, Świerzy was a graphic artist, book illustrator and a master of poster design. Over the course of his lengthy career he produced an estimated 1,500 designs, won numerous awards and exhibited internationally. His subjects range from movies and theater productions to record jackets and social causes. Portraiture also figured largely in his canon, and a favorite topic was significant public figures, especially musicians and singers.
The exhibition showcases 17 of Świerzy's larger-than-life portraits, which focus primarily on titans of jazz and rhythm-and-blues, such as King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles. Additional works-including a series of studies on Martin Luther King Jr., a portrait of Jimi Hendrix, and a poster for the 1988 Jazz Jamboree Festival in Warsaw, Poland -round out the show. In addition to exploring the interplay of musical and visual elements in Świerzy's work, the exhibition provides background on the individual musicians he depicted and their ties to the city of New Orleans.