In 2005, the Division of Information, Documentaries and Publications from Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade published a catalogue of official posters from Spanish tourism spanning the period between 1929 and 1959. This volume verifies how the promotion of tourism in Spain is not something recent, and, by the same token, it demonstrates contributions from the most distinguished illustrators, photographers and designers working in the specialised field of graphic arts since the early decades last century.
When did “the death” of the poster as a pre-eminent genre of graphic media occur? Anna Calvera – and alongside her, pioneers such as Amand Domènech, Emeterio Melendreras and Cirici Pellicer – cite it from the 1960s onwards, when billboards, run by the company RED, were placed on the streets of Spanish cities, with this proliferation of boards on every corner coming at the expense of the poster as it was then.
Nevertheless, during that time specialities developed within the genre, for instance posters for institutional or cultural promotion through bids to disseminate different events. This included the Ministry of Information and Tourism, a survivor of the National Tourism Board, which between 1928-1931 promoted a campaign using posters based on black and white photographs printed with the lithography technique.
In this long series of official tourism posters, those published in the mid 1960s stand out and include photographs by Catalá Roca, among others, who received the Laus Award in 1965 from ADG FAD. Besides Catalá Roca, other names such as Ortiz Echagüe in photography and the designers Giralt Miracle and Josep Morell, as well as a distinguished list of illustrators such as Ortega, Teodoro Delgado and Serny, take us back to a golden age of advertising posters, remembered today as a genre that directly goes hand in hand with the romantic perception of Spain from abroad.