August 4, 2018

The Poster Zodiac

Rating: PG-13

Inspired by the New York Public Library’s Literary Horoscope breakdown, we thought it might be fun to help everyone find their true poster soulmate. So, we consulted the runes, read the stars, and realigned our chakras – and then we asked our curator what posters reflected out true selves.

Leo (July 23-August 22) 

Like the cats that represent them, Leos are confident leaders with a penchant for drama and stubbornness. Passionate and creative, they love being in charge and give back to their adoring admirers by being a ton of fun.

It’s no surprise, then, that posters featuring lions are some of the most extra in the genre. I mean, look at these:


Left: Peugot by Leonetto Cappiello, 1925 (image c/o Pinterest)

Right: Armagnac Ryst by Anonymous, ca. 1945 (image c/o Poster Corner)

Virgo (August 23-September 22) 

Virgos are hardworking and loyal, with a highly analytical mind. They can often be introverted, but are also one of the most kind and careful signs in the Zodiac.

As such, we think the meticulously detailed Dutch image for the architect Paul Hankar diligently at work is their ideal mascot.


Paul Hankar Architecte by Adolphe Crespin, 1894 (image c/o Swann Galleries)

Libra (September 23-October 22) 

Diplomatic and fair, Libras are always seeking balance and harmony in their lives, and work best as part of a team. Look to a Libra to keep the peace while also avoiding conformity.

The obvious choice for Libra is Milton Glaser’s modern representation of blind justice.


Law by Milton Glaser, 1987 (image c/o artist)

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) 

Scorpios are the bad boy of star signs, drawing us in with their passion and brazenness, but often hurting those closest to them with petty jealousies and a penchant for distrust.

It may be cheating, but we think that either of these posters would be perfect for them, representing the bad boy or femme fatale in every Scorpio.


Left: Rebel Without a Cause by Anonymous, 1955

Right: L’Ammaliatrice by Alberto Vargas, ca. 1941

(images both c/o Amazon)

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) 

More so than any other sign in the Zodiac, Sagittariuses are travelers. Screw the details, they just want to be out in the world experiencing things.

While the poster world doesn’t lack travel images, we thought Roger Broders would be the best fit for the wanderlust needs of any Sagittarius.


Left: Le Hohwald by Roger Broders, ca. 1928

Right: Vichy by Roger Broders, ca. 1930

(both images c/o Omnibus Gallery)

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) 

The patron saints of responsibility and discipline, Capricorns are the best leaders. The downside of this is that they can come across as condescending.

There is no better example of harsh governing truths in poster history than the Mather Work Incentive series, meant to inspire workers to be better cogs in the corporate machine.


Criticism (1925) & Step Up! (1924) both Anonymous

(images c/o Slate)

Aquarius (January 20-February 18) 

The loners of the star signs, Aquariuses value their independence and hate being forced to face their emotions. At the same time, they are highly intellectual and need constant stimulation in order not to be bored.

Who better to represent them than Penfield, king of the smart but solitary poster figure?


Harper’s February (1898) and Harper’s Christmas (1894) both by Edward Penfield

(both images c/o The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Pisces (February 19-March 20) 

Empathetic and emotional, Pisces are happiest when around friends. They’re also one of the most musical signs in the Zodiac.

As Paul Colin was the master of vibrant cabaret posters in the 1920s & 1930s, we think it fitting that he be the Pisces spirit animal.


Left: Mary Ditrix by Paul Colin, ca. 1930 (image c/o Pinterest)

Right: Tabarin by Paul Colin, 1928 (image c/o Artsy)

Aries (March 21-April 19) 

Aries is the sign of action, always wanting to be first – be it first to work or first in a competition. They look for dynamism in their life, and are one of the most determined signs.

If speed and action is the name of the game, then nothing fits Aries better than posters for the Monaco Grand Prix.


Monaco by Robert Falcucci, 1932 (image c/o Christie’s)

Taurus (April 20-May 20) 

Like the bull, Tauruses are stubborn and well-grounded. They explore all options before action and are truly reliable.

Historically, nothing was more reliable than the European train system, so we think Cassandre’s image for the Nord Express is so very Taurus!


Nord Express by A.M. Cassandre, 1927 (image c/o 1stdibs)

Gemini (May 21-June 20) 

Represented by twins, Geminis are two sides of the same coin. They are quick-witted and fun, but can suddenly turn thoughtful and serious. They are the sign of indecisiveness.

When Cappiello was asked to create a poster celebrating the merger of liquor brands Florio with Cinzano, he decided to create a mate for the red zebra he’d designed twenty

years prior – two alcohol-fueled party beasts with decidedly distinct personalities.


Florio et Cinzano by Leonetto Cappiello, 1930 (image c/o Swann Galleries)

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Cancer is the hot mess of the Zodiac. They are incredibly emotional and sensitive, often falling into deep fits of melancholy. Sentimental to a fault, they keep their close friends and family members on a pedestal, and often deal with profound insecurity.

In poster terms, no one is more emotionally over-the-top than Josef Fenneker, whose characters are often one step away from a nervous breakdown.


Die Nacht Der Konigin Jsabeau & Der Januskopf both by Josef Fenneker, 1920

(images c/o Pinterest)