So, Will Schofield over at 50 Watts has a bit of a fetish for German poster illustrator Walter Schnackenberg (1880-1961) and I’m finding it pretty easy to see why. Schnackenberg’s work is almost like Salvador Dali and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (whose work Schnackenberg admired) had a child, swinging wildly between the more traditional theater illustration and extremely surreal dreamscapes and oftentimes these two worlds collide.
His figures are lithe and twisting, their faces many times animal-like — stretched and disfigured. The tone of many of these is hard to nail down, evolving as he grew older and introduced stranger elements into his work. His older work seems more playful, and certainly there is some of this in the later pieces, but one can definitely see a darker, more cynical streak enter his oeuvre as time went on. It all makes for a truly captivating body of work.