In December 2004, a show opened at the Museum of Valls, birthplace of Josep Queralt (1910–1993), curated by Santi Barjau and Jordi Paris. It presented works produced by this pioneer for local businesses and industry, including Farmacia Muret, Porcelanas Isard, and the iron and steel manufacturer, agricultural cooperative and printing house Moncunill.
In the introductory texts for the catalogue that accompanied this exhibition, Enric Huguet, another pioneer (see earlier post), recalled some of the teachings that Queralt had conveyed to him: ethical values, knowledge of the history of the classic typefaces, creative processes and initial ideas before tackling the actual project.
In this same text, Huguet described the particular working technique used by Queralt: he sketched in black and white on a piece of paper covered with a large layer of plaster. The black he applied with a fountain pen or a brush, and when he had to create white spaces or retouch some error that had got away from him in the black, he didn’t do it with white ink, but rather by scraping with a burin and taking advantage of the thick layer of plaster to restore the white background of the paper base. The burin he used, as Huguet describes it, was tempered steel and sharpened diagonally, to obtain results that simulated wood engravings.
As the designer Víctor Oliva wrote in another of the introductory texts for the catalogue, Josep Queralt’s posters demonstrated a mastery of space characteristic of the graphic artists of that era, who were capable of positioning the elements in different layers in order to focus the information on the most important aspects. This resource, together with the typographic handling of the letters drawn one by one, carefully maintaining the stylistic consistency with the object or image that accompanied them, reveals the craft of a designer who had the hand of a poster artist and the mind of an advertising man.