We are very excited that we have a very rare, original poster for the landmark film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari in our live and live online poster auction on November 3, 2012 in San Francisco. The poster is a true gem in that it is a German sheet from Berlin that has never been seen before. Any original materials related to the Caligari film are usually quite expensive and generally impossible to find.

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, Fritz Rotstadt, 1920, the poster will be offered at PosterConnection’s vintage poster auction on November 3 in San Francisco (lot 97). Link to catalog at PosterConnection.com and on Artfact.com.

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari is a German silent horror movie directed by Robert Wiene, based on a story by Carl Mayer and Hans Janowitz. It tells the story of the madman Dr. Caligari (played by Werner Krauss) and his devoted, fortune-telling sleepwalker Cesare (Conrad Veidt) and their connection to a string of murders in a German mountain village. The film premiered in February of 1920 in Berlin. It is considered a landmark in silent film history and may be the most influential German expressionist film of all times, famous for its exceptional, wildly distorted stage designs. Caligari’s success had a huge impact on the worldwide image of German film-making after World War I. The movie was banned in Germany in 1933 and became part of the exhibition “Degenerate Art” in 1937.

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Museum of Modern Art, New York, design by Ernst Ludwig Stahl and Otto Arpke, 1919

Only few original posters to the film are known to exist worldwide. In the last 20 years, only two Dr. Caligari posters have been offered for sale – both of them foreign sheets. The poster by Fritz Rotstadt has never appeared on the market and is the only German work known in addition to two posters by Ernst Ludwig Stahl and Otto Arpke.

The Cabnet of Dr. Caligari

Known US sheet, 1920/21

We believe that Fritz Rotstadt’s real name was Feodor Konstantin Rimsky, born 1898 in Czechoslovakia. Rimsky studied art in Berlin and worked there as an illustrator and graphic designer. After marrying Petra Rotstadt, he changed his name to Fritz Rotstadt. The artist immigrated to the United States in the 1930s and died in 1976. While the data cannot be 100% confirmed, much seems to point to Rimsky.

Du musst Caligari werden

Stahl & Arpke also produced a poster that was plastered all over Berlin and other German cities in anticipation of the film. The poster read “Du musst Caligari werden!” (“You must become Caligari!”) but left out any details or reference to the film. 1919.

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

German sheet, Ernst Ludwig Stahl and Otto Arpke, 1919

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Filmmuseum, Berlin

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Austrian sheet, Theo Matejko & Marcell Vértes, 1920

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Another US sheet?

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Unknown origin, English text

If you have any questions about the upcoming auction featuring the Caligari poster, please feel free to contact Joern Weigelt at PosterConnection via email or at www.posterconnection.com.

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