Peep Show #1

Gertie Fröhlich

On display from July 2, 2020 to December 15, 2020

In the course of the renovation of the premises of the Film Museum in the Albertina building in summer 2020, a small exhibition space was created that now makes it possible for us to present special topics in a new form. The new space was unveiled with an exhibition dedicated to the artist Gertie Fröhlich, who sadly passed away in May 2020. Fröhlich gave the Film Museum its distinctive trademark logo, the mythical creature Zyphius, and designed more than 100 posters for the Film Museum's retrospectives since its founding in 1964 until 1984. On this occasion, eight posters that illustrate the stylistic diversity of her work and provide an insight into the historical development of the motifs in this collection were selected and exhibited.
Gertie Fröhlich @ Gabriela Brandenstein
Gertie Fröhlich
Born in today's Slovakia, Gertie Fröhlich moved to Austria with her family in 1944. After attending the School of Arts and Crafts in Graz and the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna, where she studied under Albert Paris Gütersloh, Gertie Fröhlich became the center of the activities of the Viennese avant-garde of the 1950s and 1960s. She was the initiator and driving force behind the Galerie nächst St. Stephan, and her Vienna apartment became an essential meeting point for artists such as Wolfgang Hollegha, Markus Prachensky, Arnulf Rainer, and Peter Kubelka.

From 1964 until the mid-1980s she created more than 100 posters for film retrospectives and exhibitions at the Austrian Film Museum. The posters were widely recognized abroad, winning numerous awards. For a number of years her works took first place in the annual Key Art Awards, founded by the American film journal Hollywood Reporter.
Zyphius, Logo des Filmmuseums (Gestaltung und Idee: Gertie Fröhlich)
The Zyphius
Gertie Fröhlich is responsible for the Film Museum's unmistakable trademark logo, the magical creature Zyphius, which she found amongst illustrations of mythical animals in a volume dating back to 1558. The Zyphius is a kind of whale with the ability to live on land as well as in water, and described as being "unlike any other known creature." Ms. Fröhlich interpreted it as a favorable omen and chose it as a symbol for a Film Museum that would never sink. Slightly modified, but equally powerful, her design of the Zyphius remains in use to this day.

Exhibition View

(Foto: ÖFM © Stefan Csáky)
(Foto: ÖFM © Christoph Fintl)

Further Reading/Resources

Plakat Oktober 1968 (Gestaltung und Idee: Gertie Fröhlich)

Program Archive

In our program archive you can take a look at the various poster motifs by Gertie Fröhlich since the founding of the Film Museum.
"Balaena": Illustration aus dem Werk von Conrad Gessner, 1558 (Abb: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek)

Austrian Film Museum: Zyphius or Balaena?

In June 2020, in close exchange with the Film Museum, historian Bernhard Denscher published an article which, more than 50 years after the emergence of Zyphius as our trademark, presents a well-founded, scientific case for its origin. (Article in German)
Gertie Fröhlich 1974 im Filmmuseum © Gino Molin-Pradel

Gertie Fröhlich 1930-2020

The Austrian Film Museum mourns the loss of Gertie Fröhlich, who died on May 17, 2020. (Obituary in German)