In Spain 1964 marked the 25th anniversary since the end of the Civil War. The convenience of using the central courtyard of the building that housed the Traffic Department’s Head Office saw an improvised workshop set up for producing a series of billboards by components of Grupo 13, who were “invited” to participate in a competition to create the image to mark the commemoration. The eventual winner was the graphic art pioneer Julián Santamaría (see previous post), with a poster featuring the letter PAZ (peace) drawn on a background with five plain colours, with their corresponding version in the Spanish, Catalan, Basque and Galician languages.
The dissemination of this significant event for the regime took the form of multiple mediums, ranging from informative posters with details of the government’s achievements to a philatelic series spanning different themes – sport, agriculture, reforestation, scientific research…
Twenty years before, the Ministry of Finance had set, through the creation of the Philatelic Office of the State, an iconographic plan in the production of stamps that summarised the regulations as “inspired in a national sense and set apart from whimsical Impressionism”, although it did consider “sufficient flexibility for unforeseen imperatives of opportunity”. Clearly, a great event within these opportunities, foreseen or not, defined the commemoration of 25 years of peace.
Professor Guillermo Navarro Oltra, in his book “Autorretratos del Estado. El sello postal del franquismo” (Self-portraits of the State. The Postage Stamp of the Franco Regime) (PUbliCan Ediciones), writes about the series issued in 1965: “thirteen of the fourteen editions issued featured synthetic- and colourist-style illustrations characteristic of the graphic design in the decade they were produced.” Some of the images compiled in these stamps are of particular interest, for instance those devoted to the National Housing Plan, based on the photo entitled “Poblado de Colonización Vegaviana, Cáceres” in reference to the project by the architect José Luis Fernández del Amo.