News: Pelikan’s Art Collection Brought To Life

Pelikan Advertising Posters

Pelikan is a brand whose longevity now spans nearly two centuries. In that time, there have been significant revisions to the company’s branding as well as a prodigious amount of advertising materials created. In that cause, famous artists have been employed including the likes of O.H.W. Hadank, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, El Lissitzky, and Kurt Schwitters. A lot of the advertising created around the brand and its products are truly works of art. The archives are full of such posters, many of which you may have come across in the past. These have served as inspiration for product packaging and were the subject of 2013’s book The Brand by Detmar Schäfer. By way of recent example, the Iconic Blue M120 from 2018 featured a poster advertising Pelikan’s watercolors designed in 1899 by Käthchen Münzer which was originally submitted as part of a sponsored poster competition, something Pelikan did fairly frequently at the dawn of the twentieth century. It seems that the company would now like to highlight some of those pieces that reside in the archive but, before doing so, they have an idea they’d like to run up the flagpole. Read on for all of the details including how you might participate in bringing a future pen to market.

On their active social media accounts which are primarily Instagram and Facebook, Pelikan has posted mock-ups for three different pens, each inspired by a different poster from the early twentieth century, most of which were acquired as purchases from poster competitions. Each of the submissions highlight Pelikan’s inks which were a focus of the company in the early 1900s, long before they ever ventured into the world of fountain pens.

The first poster put forth was made by Rudi Rother (1863-1909), a German painter and illustrator, in 1903. The pen based off of his design features an interesting shade of green resin for the section, piston knob, and cap. The barrel takes its inspiration from the pattern in the woman’s dress.

Pelikan Concept Pen

The second option was designed by Glauco Cambon (1875-1930) in 1909. He was an Italian painter and graphic artist who became interested in advertising posters in the early 1900s. This concept sports a black resin section, piston knob, and cap. The barrel mimics the reflections in the water made by the colorful pelicans.

Pelikan Concept Pen

The final entry represents the work of Georg Tronnier (1873-1962), submitted in 1903. Mr. Tronnier was a German artist who specialized in portrait painting, Art Nouveau, and German Impressionism. His signature style was unique, and he left behind an extensive body of work following his passing. This design also has a black resin section, piston knob, and cap. The barrel displays a repeating floral print taken from the wreath of flowers adorning the woman’s head.

Pelikan Concept Pen

Pelikan is currently hosting a survey for everyone to weigh in on their favorite design(s). While just concepts at the moment, the nibs clearly indicate that these are not M1000s. While there isn’t enough resolution to say for sure, I’d wager that these are either M400 or M600 base models. Of course, just being concepts, the final product can still take on any form that the company so chooses. The survey is comprised of two simple questions followed by an invitation to rate each design. The questions ask whether or not you like such a concept and if you would be inclined to buy one of the pens. At the end of the survey, there is room for any additional comments that you may have. My personal suggestion was that Pelikan should not make just one of these pens but all three and maybe some more after that. I could envision this being the next great string of releases al la the M620 Cities series. Keep in mind, there is no guarantee that any of these models will come to market. The success of this idea seems to hinge upon the community’s feedback therefore I would encourage everyone with even a remote interest in seeing one of these models in real life to participate in the survey which I will link to below. Don’t wait too long to act as I have no idea how long voting will remain open. For what it’s worth, I like all three of these models, but the second concept based of Glauco Cambon’s work is by far my favorite.

Pelikan Art Collection Survey

34 responses

  1. Done. I offered to prepay for a pen in the comments section. After you previous article I realize we must step up our support for Pelikan.

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  2. Brilliant idea for inspiration. I quite agree that these posters should be used to make a series and said so when I voted. I also liked the Cambon the best. But I do hope these will be semi-affordable, especially of there is to be a series.

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    • And there is lies the rub. I think a series like this has the potential to be tremendously successful but I do worry they would price themselves in a corner and doom the whole endeavor.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This idea reminds me of the Visconti Van Gogh series, but I find these pens more attractive than those. I would purchase all three and will leave a comment. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Joshua.

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    • I could see all three finding a home within my flock as well. I’m very familiar with the Van Gogh collection and can see the similarities though I too like the Pelikan vision better (I guess I’m biased that way though).

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  4. I love the idea but unfortunately I don’t love the execution as much as I wish I did. The one based on the Georg Tronnier poster is the only one that really appeals to me at this moment and is probably the only one I’d purchase.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s fair. I think a lot too would depend on seeing these in real life rather than as mock-ups. They could be a lot more (or less) stunning in real life if executed well.

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  5. Excellent idea really. It extends on art specifically made for the Pelikan brand. Much better IMHO than using maki-e or other art forms quite unrelated to and remote from Pelikan as it is.

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  6. I think Pelikan is onto something here. If they’re going to stick (further) with the established models, this idea could provide some welcome refreshment. This kind of artwork on a smaller canvas than the M800, though, would look shrunken in my opinion. Thanks, Josh—a terrific service, as always…and good to see you in DC!

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    • Totally agree with the small canvas concern. I like where their head is at with this idea and hope they run with it. Lots of art in the back catalog to draw from. Good seeing you too.

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  7. These designs would indeed make a wonderful series! I really hope Pelikan make them as M800s as that would be an excellent size, and I agree with Jack Truten above that an M600 format would simply be too small.
    And creating a new collectible series would be a great commercial move for Pelikan who (from your recent reports) appear to be going through rough times.

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  8. Thanks for calling this to our attention, Joshua. I’ve seen some of the posters in Hanover and was captivated by them. What a great concept. Someone above talked about the freshness of the designs. That’s what caught my eye, too. They are really quite unique. Designs 1 and 2 are my favorites.

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    • Yes, this feels different than a lot of what they’ve done in the past. That kind of fresh take is refreshing. Hopefully they will bring this to life. I’m not sure how much of a community response they are looking for before moving forward with this.

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    • The pics are not the highest resolution so it’s hard to tell. I studied them closely and they look like either M400 or M600 base models. That said, these are just mock-ups and the company could end up rolling the pen out on whichever chassis they choose. I wouldn’t get hung up right now on what size these are but if you are looking for a particular size, that is just the thing that I would free text in the comments section on that survey.

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  9. Thank you Mr. Joshua, for telling us about this event about Pelikan. It is indeed a good idea to absorb inspirations from old posters. I am afraid that I might collect them all once they are on sale.

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  10. I really like the idea of basing designs on historical posters, but these three particular designs clash with the classic (and classy) canvas of the Souveran. Keeping the traditional trim bands makes the graphics look like they have been slapped into a non-matching frame rather than integrated into the design of the pen as a whole. More geometric designs inspired by the Art Deco posters would work better … but I fully confess I am someone who likes Pelikans precisely because of their classic design language.

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    • I agree they are a different direction than the brand has gone in the past. I find it kind of refreshing but completely see your point. I think, for me at least, it would really depend on what these look like in real life. If done well, I’d be happy but there is a serious risk of the finish coming off cheap looking. Pelikan has been nothing if not consistent in sticking with their design roots.

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  11. I really liked the second model. In order of preference, it is #2, #3 and lastly #1. I believe that #1 would be more interesting if they chose a black pen. The green colour may be too green for some people (me included) and it would also highlight the drawings better. I would feel more reassured if they eventualy choose a very durable painting or some sort of lacquer to protect the graphics. Finally, Pelikan could preserve the ink window if possible.

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    • I have just wondered how whey would translate these designs onto the resin without the pen appearing cheap or wearing too easily. I also wonder if the design would pop or just be kind of dull. Things that Hannover would have to figure out with a model like this. I’m very curious to see which way this goes though.

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