See more objects with the color firebrick limegreen grey dimgrey darkslategrey or see all the colors for this object.

Object Timeline


  • Work on this object began.


  • We acquired this object.




  • You found it!

Poster, Bob Stewart and Arthur Blythe, Jazz Festival Willisau, 2005

This is a Poster. It is dated 2005 and we acquired it in 2009. Its medium is offset lithograph on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Niklaus Troxler’s limitless talent for graphic invention is continually reinforced with each new poster he creates for the annual Jazz Festival in Willisau, Switzerland. Since 1975, Troxler has produced up to 15 posters per year for the festival, which he founded and still organizes. While some works (particularly early examples) are illustrative and others are based on abstract geometry, most of his designs are purely typographic. For many of these, Troxler creates new typefaces, seemingly produced by ink blots, paint smears, atomic diagrams, and other imaginative concepts that amuse and surprise without being overly contrived.
Born in Willisau in 1947, Troxler has pursued his passions for jazz and graphic design since he was a teenager. He organized his first jazz concert when he was 19 and also grew interested in posters by Herbert Leupin and other Swiss graphic designers. After apprenticing as a typographer (1963–67), he studied graphic at the Art School of Lucerne (1967–71). Following graduation, Troxler worked in Paris as art director for Hollenstein Création (1971–72) before returning to Willisau, where he started his own design firm in 1973. Two years later, Troxler launched the first Willisau Jazz Festival. Along the way, Troxler has received prizes in poster competitions in Europe, Russia, and China, including a special award from the Art Directors Club of Switzerland. Since 1998, he has taught at the State Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart, Germany.
When asked what he believes are the similarities between graphic design and jazz, Troxler responded, “Everything that fascinates me about jazz music, is also what interests me in design: rhythm, sound, contrast, interaction, experiment, improvisation, composition, individuality…” Troxler’s emphasis on individuality and improvisation is a reaction to the dominant Swiss rationalism and the tradition of the grid as exemplified by the work of Josef Müller-Brockman, Wolfgang Weingart, and Armin Hofmann. Troxler does not believe in styles but rather lets the individual project suggest the form. According to Troxler, “the message has priority over form, creativeness over aesthetics, and expression over perfect design.”
At the heart of his work is his use of visual puns and musical metaphors. After creating over 100 posters, Troxler admits that the next one might not be so easy. “You have to free yourself…[to work] without stress…with no other projects in your head...To repeat is a killer.”
This poster is one of 17 Troxler posters recommended for acquisition, which would make a wonderful addition to the museum’s graphic design collection.

It is credited Gift of Niklaus Troxler.

Our curators have highlighted 5 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

Its dimensions are

128.1 x 90.6 cm (50 7/16 x 35 11/16 in.)

It is inscribed

Printed in white ink, vertically, lower right: © 2005 Gafik Niklaus Troxler Willisau Bosch Siebdruck AG Stans

Cite this object as

Poster, Bob Stewart and Arthur Blythe, Jazz Festival Willisau, 2005; offset lithograph on paper; 128.1 x 90.6 cm (50 7/16 x 35 11/16 in.); Gift of Niklaus Troxler; 2009-3-7

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Poster, Bob Stewart and Arthur Blythe, Jazz Festival Willisau, 2005 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 December 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>