The History of Poster Art over the last two Centuries. Part 2


By the 1890s, poster art had widespread usage in other parts of Europe, advertising everything from bicycles to cigarette rolling papers, and bullfights. By the end of the 19th century, during an era known as the Belle Époque, the standing of the poster as a serious art form was raised even further.

Between 1895 and 1900, Jules Chéret created the “Maîtres de l’Affiche” (Masters of the Poster) series that became not only a commercial success, but is now seen as an important historical publication.

The publication consisted of 256 color lithographic plates reproduced from the original works of ninety-seven artists in a smaller 11 x 15 inch format.

The varied selection of prints were sold in packages of four and delivered monthly to subscribers. On sixteen occasions during the selling period between December 1895 through November 1900, the monthly package included a bonus of a specially created lithograph.


Jules Chéret, “Folies Bergeres” and “Redoute des Etudiants”


Jules Chéret (1836 -1932)

Jules Cheret (1836-1933) , French illustrator , photographied by Nadar between 1880 and 1900, extracted from the collection Felix Potin, 500 contemporary celebrities , Painting FranceJules Chéret was a French painter and lithographer who became a master of Belle Époque poster art. He has been called the father of the modern poster. At age thirteen, he began a three-year apprenticeship with a lithographer and then his interest in painting led him to take an art course at the École Nationale de Dessin. Like most other fledgling artists, Chéret studied the techniques of various artists, past and present, by visiting Paris museums. From 1859 to 1866, he was trained in lithography in London, England, where he was strongly influenced by the British approach to poster design and printing.

On returning to France, Chéret created vivid poster ads for the cabarets, music halls, and theaters such as the Eldorado, the Olympia, the Folies Bergère, Théâtre de l’Opéra, the Alcazar d’Été and the Moulin Rouge. He created posters and illustrations for the satirical weekly Le Courrier français.

In 1895, Chéret created the Maîtres de l’Affiche collection, a significant art publication of smaller sized reproductions featuring the best works of ninety-seven Parisian artists. His success inspired an industry that saw the emergence of a new generation of poster designers.

Jules Chéret, “Pantomimes Lumineuses”

Jules Chéret, “Pantomimes Lumineuses”



To be continued…

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