When in 1964 Peter Kubelka together with Peter Konlechner founded the Austrian Film Museum, he secured Austrian painter and graphic artist Gertie Fröhlich (1930-2020) to design the museum's posters. She would do this for over twenty years, creating more than 100 designs. Many of them can be looked at in our program archive.
Gertie Fröhlich also chose the Film Museum's logo: the magical fable creature "Zyphius." It is likely she came across it in the 1959 article "Fabulous Creatures from Early Zoological Works" in the trade magazine Gebrauchsgraphik. Since its particular anatomical features allow it to live both on land and at sea, it was deemed a good symbol for the Film Museum: May it never sink.
A book by Heidelinde Resch about Gertie Fröhlich (Gertie Fröhlich: "netzhäuten ein vollbad gestatten,Vienna 2019) and the artist's passing in May 2020 inspired Dr. Bernhard Denscher (historian and head of the City of Vienna's Department of Culture until 2016) to take a closer look at the accepted history of our logo. In active exchange with the Film Museum and cross-referencing a variety of sources, he published an article in June 2020, which after more than 50 years presented a scholarly basis for the creation of Zyphius. According to the article, Zyphius is in fact a "Balaena" and was illustrated in 1558 by Conrad Gessner in his book on fish and sea creatures. Meanwhile, the "Ziphius" illustrated in the book, a Suffwal, swam through the ocean in another form. Gessner had in turn referenced a depiction by Olaus Magnus (see the illustration above).
While our logo has slightly changed its shape from time to time since 1964, it continues to live on all our printed matter and online (and since 2022 as a special commemorative stamp). Christof Janitschek adapted the original logo and it was later updated by Gabi Adébisi-Schuster.