San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker Posters

San Fran­cisco Ballet’s Nutcracker Posters 1960s-1970s.

The San Fran­cisco Ballet (founded as the San Fran­cisco Opera Ballet in 1933) is the oldest profes­sional ballet company in America. Willam Chris­tensen arrived in 1938. On Christmas Eve, 1944, he presented the first complete version Nutcracker ever staged in the United States.

As a free­lance artist, I was lucky to have two oppor­tu­ni­ties in creating the Nutcracker poster and addi­tional printed items. The first poster, ”Dancing Doll”, started as a tracing pad thumb­nail sketch which was then shown to photog­ra­pher, Larry Keenan Jr. along with the Ballet’s b/w photo­graph from a past perfor­mance. Larry had a tech­nique that turned the simple photo into a mosaic of prisms and added color as well.

The next year, I worked directly with Lew Chris­tensen. I offered four designs. I was surprised that he picked the most humorous of the group — with the mouse sneaking off of the poster. I have scanned two of the four layouts…that I offered, as shown below.

Here also, photographed by Fred Sweiger, is a full collec­tion of the posters of local artists to promote the yearly event. This collec­tion was on the inside cover of a 1980 Nutcracker brochure that was designed by Cal Anderson. The scanned image is not the best quality. If I had orig­i­nals of each…I could have shown them all more clearly.

Happy Holi­days,

2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18 & 19: Cal Anderson, 15: Artworks, 3 & 8: Norman Orr, 1 & 16: Ann Thompson (5: unknown)

Art / Photography:
1: Ann Thompson, 3 & 8: Norman Orr, 4: Sue Foster, 6, 7 & 19: Dale Smith, 11: Nicholas Sidjakov, 12: Fred Lyons, 15: Judy Clif­ford, 16: Larry Keenan Jr.

San Francisco Nutcracker Posters
San Fran­cisco Ballet’s Nutcracker Posters – 1960s — 1970s