Meet Ib Antoni (1929-1973)
Ib Antoni was a brilliant representative of Danish Design in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, as he truly understood how to frame the spirit of the time and create some of the most iconic illustrations, ever to be seen in a Danish context.
He was the man behind many of the well-know Wonderful Copenhagen posters, but also the designer that created posters to organisations as Tivoli, Carlsberg and The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Apart from his extensive work in Denmark, Ib Antoni also brought Danish Design abroad, to international businesses as Volvo, Shell, General Motors, Heinz and also LIFE Magazine, with the iconic posters, that he created during his time in the United States in the late 1950s, where he was also admitted into the exclusive “Society of Illustrators” in New York.
Ib Antoni was born in Esbjerg in Jutland, Denmark in 1929 and grew up in Aarhus, where he was educated as an advertising designer on the advertising agency “Buchtrup’s Klichéfabrik”, after which he was hired by the agency “Harlang & Toksvig”.
It was however in Copenhagen that his career would really progress, and here he became one of the great Danish postwar-“Mad Men”, as he as the art director on some of the greatest advertising campaigns of his time made his humorous and positive stroke known and loved in the entire world.
Ib Antoni originally wanted to be an architect, for which (in spite of the great talent) the childhood home could not financially provide for.
The passion to design never faded, and therefore, in the late 1960s and early 1970s he devoted himself, apart from his work designing posters, to work that could satisfy his interest within the architectonical field. He also made his debut, before his untimely death, within beautiful rug designs, poetical children’s books, colourful textiles, stylish porcelain for Royal Copenhagen and last, but not least, the classical Tivoli lamp, that was reproduced in 2017 by the Danish company “Le Klint”.
Ib Antoni tragically died in a fire caused by a pyromaniac at “Hotel Hafnia” in 1973 only 44 years old.
He was the greatest in his field.Ib Antoni made atleast a hundred sketches for just óne poster. He was never satisfied until the result was outstanding, and it became outstanding every time. His memory – that holds the touch of a warm and deeply artistic human being, lives on in his works. He was the greatest in his field.
Ib Antoni's work has become a part of our everyday
It is incomprehensible. We will miss Ib Antoni's and his enchanting creative powers. His versatility, profoundness and subtlety, had become a part of our everyday life. His posters with humorous dedications are hanging on the wall, on the floor are his deep and comforting rya carpet fantasies, the children are tucked in with his imaginative "Cherry Book" (i.e. "Merry Cherry") and they flick through the pages of the infinite rows of colour ideas, that have given us so many meaningful moments. We will never forget Ib Antoni.
He made "Wonderful Copenhagen" famous abroad
Ib Antoni was a part of making "Wonderful Copenhagen" famous abroad. But he died in a terrible catastrophe in the heart of the city that owed him such a deep dept of gratitude - only a few hundred metres from the city hall he drew with his fine and loving stroke.
Iconic design for all ages
Ib Antoni left behind a cultural treasure of more than 1000 beautiful illustrations, that timelessly plays with the well-known classics of furniture from The Golden Age of Danish Design, the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, but still remain so contemporary, that they naturally blend into any modern interior design.
The different illustrations of Ib Antoni hit all hearts and rooms in the home – even now, so many years after their creation.
Prizes and awards
- Member of Society of Illustrators i New York, 1961
- Winner of the poster competition, Toronto, 1964 and 1965
- 2. place in the international tourist poster competition, Los Angeles 1965
- Diploma for excellent work, Tokyo 1966
- Awarded the ENIT Cup for the posters series made for The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Tourist Association in Copenhagen (Wonderful Copenhagen), Milano 1966
- Second place for International Poster in the Biennale
- Warsaw 1968 and (post mortem) in 1974
- Young & Rubicam, New York 1957
- J. Walter Thomson, New York 1958
- Konstfackskolan, Stockholm 1964
- Danish Pavillon, World Fair 1964
- Neiman-Marcus, Dallas 1965
- Southern Methodist University, Dallas 1965
- Prad, Amsterdam 1965
- Bella Center, Copenhagen 1967
- Heal’s, London 1968
- Illum/CG, Copenhagen 1969
- Unika Væv, Copenhagen 1970
- The Danish Poster Museum, Aarhus 1995 (post mortem)