Rolf Knie Poster 1996 du Montreux Jazz Festival
Rolf Knie © DR


In a complete contrast to David Bowie’s dark poster the year before, Rolf Knie’s design for the 30th anniversary of the Festival sparkles with joy and humour. Knie was a clown, elephant trainer and artist who came from a great Swiss German circus dynasty, and this chalk creation combines the world he knew best with the world of jazz: an artistic marriage that produced this fantastical multi-coloured elephant with a saxophone trunk. Rolf Knie was a friend of Claude Nobs, and one of the guests at the Festival founder’s sixtieth birthday party that year, which was held in his chalet. Another of Nobs’s friends, musician Phil Collins, bought Rolf Knie’s original artwork for the sum of 65,000 francs.