Skip to main content

Due to rising regional and national cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting Monday, Nov. 23. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time.

Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company

Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company
Usage Conditions Apply
Alternate Title
Janis Joplin, James Gurley, Peter Albin, Samuel Andrew, and David Getz
Patrick Lofthouse, born 4 Jul 1937
Copy after
Tom Weir, born 1935
Janis Joplin, 19 Jan 1943 - 4 Oct 1970
James Gurley, 22 Dec 1939 - 20 Dec 2009
Peter Albin, born 1944
Samuel Andrew, 18 Dec 1941 - 12 Feb 2015
David Getz, born 1938
Color photolithographic poster
Image/Sheet: 53.7cm x 35.8cm (21 1/8" x 14 1/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Jack Banning
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Bill Graham Archives, LLC
Object number
Exhibition Label
When Texas-born singer Janis Joplin (1943–1970) joined the San Francisco band Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966, she propelled the group to the top of the rock scene. A passionate, bluesy singer with a raw, powerful voice, Joplin electrified audiences with her sexualized performance style, delivered with explosive movements and wailing, whispering, and shrieking. One writer described her as a "mixture of Leadbelly, a steam engine, Calamity Jane, Bessie Smith, an oil derrick, and rot-gut bourbon." Before her 1970 death of a drug overdose at age twenty-seven, Joplin had become a female rock icon.
The distinctive lettering and vivid colors of the psychedelic rock posters helped launch a poster collecting craze. As advertising images, portraits of film and music celebrities, and political propaganda wallpapered bedrooms and dorm rooms, the poster became a statement of one’s personal affiliations and a visual symbol of the era.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery