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Muzeum Narodowe w Poznaniu


Jan Lenica Award

Jan Lenica Award

The Jan Lenica Award was founded after the artist death in 2001. It was established to memorialize this outstanding artist born in Poznań and closely connected with the National Museum in Poznań for many years. The Museum preserves in its archives documents describing the life and work of Lenica and gathers his artistic legacy. Jan Lenica was one of the most prominent Polish contemporay artists. He was one of the creators and most significant representatives of the „Polish poster school”.

The Jan Lenica Award is presented to distinguished graphic artists from around the world with a well established artistic personality, and an attitude close to that of Lenica – going beyond the usual definition of a commercial artist. Poster and other graphic forms serve as a medium of autonomic artistic expression of authors look at the surrounding world. All of the awarded artists have outstanding personal achievements in this area. The Jan Lenica Award was presented for the first time to Michel Bouvet from France in 2002.


  1. Jan Lenica Award is conferred on outstanding poster artists; its intention is to distinguish a clearly defined artistic personality, to stress the importance of the Laureate’s entire oeuvre for the art of the poster.
  2. The Jury headed by the Director of the National Museum in Poznań is composed of employees of the Gallery of Poster and Design.
  3. The Award consists in a solo exhibition of the Laureate’s works on the premises of the National Museum in Poznań.
  4. The announcement of the successive Laureate of the Award takes place during the opening ceremony of the exhibition of the previously distinguished artist.

About Jan Lenica

He was born on January 4, 1928 in Poznań. He spent the years of the Nazi occupation together with his parents and sister in Mielec and Cracow. In 1945 he returned to Poznań, where he continued learning to play the piano at the High School of Music in Poznań (until 1947). He later studied at the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw Polytechnic, obtaining a diploma of an engineer-architect in 1952. In 1945 as a draughtsman he started regular cooperation with the „Szpilki” satirical weekly and with other magazines. Three years later he published his first critical texts on graphic arts, poster and caricature. In 1950 he became the graphic editor of „Szpilki”. That very year, at the request of a playwright friend he published his first poster.

In the period 1952-1954 he was an assistant to Professor Henryk Tomaszewski in the Chair of Poster at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.

In collaboration with Walerian Borowczyk in 1957 he made the first animated movie. In 1963 he settled in Paris. In 1974 he conducted lectures on the poster at Harvard University, Cambridge. Since 1979 he was head of the Chair of Animated Film at Kassel University. In 1986 he moved to Berlin, where until 1993 he led classes in the poster and graphic art at the Hochschule der Künste as a nominated professor, and subsequently, having retired, until mid-1994 as a visiting professor. He was active in the field of satirical drawing, illustration, workshop graphics, exhibition settings, stage design, poster, and animated film. He never regarded himself as a graphic designer but as an artist who fully brings to life his own vision with the use of a variety of means from the fields of graphic arts and film. Lenica died on October 5, 2001 in Berlin.

Major awards in the poster category:

1961 – Toulouse Lautrec Grand Prix (ex aequo) 2nd International Exhibition of Contemporary Film Poster, Versaille
1962 – First Prize, Third Prize and mention 1st International Biennial of Film Poster, Karlovy Vary
1966 – Gold Medal 1st International Poster Biennale, Warsaw
1973 – Special Award 1st International Film Poster Competition, Cannes
1980 – Award of the city of Essen in the field of poster art
1993 – Special mention in the competition ”Grand Prix de l’affiche culturelle”, Paris
1997 – Third Prize 6th International Biennale of Theatre Poster, Rzeszów
1999 – Grand Prix 16th Biennial of Polish Poster, Katowice

Kenya Hara
Laureate of the Jan Lenica Award, 2020

Born in 1958 in Okayama prefecture, Japan. Kenya Hara is one of the most recognized Japanese designers. He studied not only in graphic and editorial design but also general design and semiology. He currently lives and works in Tokyo. From 1983, he was associated with the Nippon Design Center, where he runs a large design studio, Hara Design Institute. Kenya Hara represents a holistic approach to design that reflects his way of expressing the Japanese philosophy of design in all its forms. He puts great emphasis on the cultural tradition of his home country that he so skilfully translates into a modern language of poster and many other design disciplines.


Michel Quarez
Laureate of the Jan Lenica Award, 2016

Born in 1938 in Damascus, Syria. One from the great poster painter among contemporary French poster designers. He studied at Academy of Fine Arts in Bordoux and l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. He continued his studies in Professor Henryk Tomaszewski’s Posters Studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 1961. His serious interest in poster dates back to the 1980s in the period of radical change in the French artistic environment but he avoided becoming a member of collective ateliers very popular at that time. For years, he lives and works in the Paris suburb Saint-Denis, where he created his painting poster composition, in which gesture and colour seem to ignore the edges of the paper. Designs posters of various sizes, from small at large, using traditional painting workshop. In his works often raises weighty social issues ie. human rights, AIDS, problems of local communities which transposes into the graphic language of the poster.

Uwe Loesch
Laureate of the Jan Lenica Award, 2013

Artistic personality of Uwe Loesch has earned him a special place amongst the world’s most acknowledged poster artists. He is entirely sovereign in formulating his message and surprising in his formal unconventionality. By means of combining typography and photography, word and picture, he creates distinct visual statements characterized by transparency and understated graphic solutions as well as author’s independent expression of ideas. As a philosopher and an independent thinker Uwe Loesch enjoys a very privileged position in the contemporary history of graphic design.

Ralph Schraivogel
Laureate of the Jan Lenica Award, 2009

Ralph Schraivogel have had great influence on the poster form not only in Switzerland, but also worldwide. He is a part of the generation of designers that question the rationale, functionalism and clarity of the “swiss style”. Schraivogel is not the only artist that took part in the rebirth of swiss poster, however his original personality makes him one of the most outstanding posters designers worldwide.

Alain Le Quernec
Laureate of the Jan Lenica Award, 2006

Le Quernec posters can be best described as multilayerd in content, with a certain amount of distance, humour. The theme is presented in a realistic, sharp light and the problems raised are universal and timeless in nature. The artist suite of graphic solutions has been in a constant evolution, from the predomination of drawing and painting gesture, through straight and processed photography to form- and color-based graphic solutions.

Gunter Rambow

Laureate of the Jan Lenica Award, 2004

The main domain of Rambow’s art is social and theatrical poster. In his early works, he was for the most part using straight and processed photograpy, both coloured and monochromatic. In his later years, he turned to clean graphic compositions with reduced colour sets and large format.


Michel Bouvet
Laureate of the Jan Lenica Award, 2002

Bouvet focuses on designing posters, graphic marks and the preparation of visual identities for institutions and cultural events. In his poster design, he attributes the viewer with a superior role. He uses ideas common for all generations, bypassing trends or novelties. He is in constant search of a simple, versatile language – a form of balance and compromise.


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