Roman Cieslewicz

Roman Cieslewicz

         Roman Cieslewicz was a Polish graphic designer. He was born on January 13, 1930 and died on January 21, 1996 in Paris, France. “Cieslewicz earned widespread international recognition, exhibiting his works throughout the world. He was one of the founders of the Polish poster school which promoted an aesthetic striving for simplicity and clarity, while urging the use of poetic metaphor and an abundance of modes of expression. His artistic interests included posters, pressing and publishing prints, typography, photography, photomontage and exhibiting. He was a member of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers, the Alliance Graphique International and the International Center for the Typographic Arts.” (Jerzy Brukwicki, March 2004) Therefore, he is a very famous designer.

“In early 1963, Cieslewicz went to Essen to work on projects for the Krupp publishing house. He then moved to Italy, where he made five decorative panels for display within the production areas of Italsider steelworks in Bagnoli, Piombino, Lovere, Cornigliano and Toranto. In September1963, he moved with his family to Paris, where he was to live and work for the rest of his life. (In 1971, he became a French citizen.) Between 1965-69, he was the art director of “Elle”, implementing his own design vision. He also contributed to “Vogue” and developed the designs for the art journal “Opus International”, the popular science monthly “VST”, the magazine “Musique en Jeu” and the quarterly “Kitsch”. He created a number of graphic designs for the Hachette, Ketschum and Hazan publishing houses as well as for Galeries Lafayette and Musée Picasso. He was widely acclaimed for his designs of lavish catalogues for prestigious exhibitions at the Paris Centre Pompidou. He designed posters for the borough of Montreuil, was the art director at the art agency, M.A.F.I.A., designed the Jordan shoes advertising campaign and the “France has talent” campaign. He contributed to the Parisian publishing house of the Pallotin fathers, “Editions du Dialogue”. His art was published by the daily “Liberation” and the journals “Revolution” and “l’Autre Journal”. He designed and published two issues of the “panic information” journal “Kamikaze I” (1976) and “Kamikaze II” (1991) for the group Panique of which he was a member. From 1973-75 and from 1975-76, he ran the Visual Forms Atelier at the Paris Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs and the graphic arts diploma atelier at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Graphique. He designed the sets for “Elle”‘s fashion show in 1968-71 as well as the architectural aspect of the exhibition L’espace Urbain en Urss, 1917-1978 at the Centre Pompidou in 1978. In 1979, he made the film Change of Climate for the Institut National Audiovisuel in Paris. In 1989, the National Assembly and the French Ministry of Culture asked him to design the decoration for the Assemblée Nationale building to commemorate the bicentennial of the French Revolution. The following year he decorated the Paris Town Hall on the occasion of General Charles de Gaulle’s birth centenary. He collaborated with the Warsaw Museum of Literature to organize two exhibitions in Paris: “70 Drawings by Bruno Schulz” (1975) and “Portraits by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz” (1978), an example of his uninterrupted dialogue with Poland’s cultural heritage, crowned by a series of Baroque-like posters for the Warsaw Opera” (Jerzy Brukwicki, March 2004)

Although his artistic interests included posters, pressing and publishing prints, typography, photography, photomontage and exhibiting, he spent a lot of time on the graphic design. Cieslewicz said:

“It was my dream to make public pictures that could be seen by as many people as possible. Hence the utmost importance of the poster – the street picture. I had thought about the poster before starting at the Academy. Entering the street. That’s extremely important. Given the variety of objects surrounding us, I find an announcement the most important thing. Telling, saying, communicating, announcing. Informing (…) To me a picture could never be separated from the content. I always go for the maximum picture and the maximum information. You need to stimulate imagination to the maximum.” (Wiesława Wierzchowska, “Autoportrety / Self-Portraits”. Agencja Wydawnicza “Interster”, Warsaw 1994)

Roman Cieslewicz was also a great photographer. “The exhibition at the RCA explores his craft in detail. Photography was clearly one of Cieslewicz’s passions. There is an energy in his photographic collages which have been cleverly composed with minimal technology, using simple techniques of mirroring, splitting and incessantly repeating the same building, object or body part. These were Cieslewicz’s raw tools, which he interpreted rather than simply decorating or designing book covers or posters for the arts.” (Amadei, Gian Luca. Blueprint; Sep 2010)

He created many works. “Cieślewicz’s finest works include the posters Kamienne niebo / Stony Skies (1959), Manru (1961), Więzien / The Prisoner (1962), Ksiądz Marek / Father Marek (1963), Proces/ The Trial (1964), Dziady / Forefathers’ Eve (1967), Arrabal (1968), Cannes (1970), Szewcy / The Cobblers (1971), Zoom (1971), L’attentat (1972), Amnesty International (1975), Gdy rozum śpi / The Sleep of Reason (1976), Roman Cieślewicz (1979), Avec l’enfant (1979), J.M.K. Wścieklica (1979), Paris – Mockba 1900-1930 (1979), Raj utracony / Paradise Lost (1980), ILS (1980), Liberte = Wolność (1981), Presences Polonaises (1983), Roman Cieślewicz “Plakat & Fotomontaż” / “The Poster and the Photomontage” (1981), Angers (1987), Roman Cieślewicz “Retrospektywa” / “Retrospective” (1994), the illustrations to Bruno Schulz’s Cinnamon Shops (1963), to Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1975), the photomontage series Monstra / Monstres (1969), Figury Symetryczne / Symmetrical Figures (1971-74), Climate Change (1976). Cieślewicz has had over one hundred solo exhibitions of prints, photomontage works, posters and photographs, and he has participated in all the major poster presentations in Poland, France and many other countries around the world. His works are in the collections of the National Museums in Warsaw, Krakow, Poznań, Wrocław, in the Museum of Art in Lódź, Poster Museum in Wilanow, Warsaw, in Essen, Lahti, Paris, Colorado, Bayreuth, New York Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Musée d’Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Library of Congress in the USA, Fagersta Stadsbibliotek in Stockholm, as well as in numerous private collections.” (Jerzy Brukwicki, March 2004) These artworks show that Roman Cieslewicz made a great contribution to art.












  1. Wiesława Wierzchowska, “Autoportrety / Self-Portraits”. Agencja Wydawnicza “Interster”, Warsaw 1994
  2. Jerzy Brukwicki, March 2004

  1. Amadei, Gian Luca. Blueprint; London, Sep 2010