The Poster

The Poster 1040Px

After Jules Chéret’s pioneering technique allowed for the creation of the first colour lithograph posters in 1866, the mass production of inexpensive colour printing became both possible and popular. The craze for poster art became kind of synonymous with the Belle Époque in France, with artists each developing their own unique but distinctly Art Nouveau style. From Henri de Tolouse-Lautrec’s Post-Impressionist fusion of caricature and realism to Alphonse Mucha’s excessive ornamentation to Theophile Steinlen’s dynamism, sinuous contours and vivid colours. These posters became popular not just as art but as functional advertising, from Steinlen’s iconic Cabaret club Le Chat Noir to Mucha’s advert for hot chocolate drink Chocolat Idéal to Boulanger’s Pétrole Stella advert for lamp oil. 

As the Art Nouveau’s popularity began to wane and Art Deco became more popular both the topics and the style changed. With Art Deco’s more geometric and angular style, artists like AM Cassandre, who often marvelled at the recent technological advancements like cruise ships and high-speed trains, became so popular they even created their own advertising agencies. Post-war posters moved from lithograph to the mass-production technique of photo-offset, allowing for the playful styles and vivid colours of the 50s and 60s.

From wartime propaganda to advertisement to activism to travel, these posters were made to be visually striking and attention grabbing, and succeeded to capture the zeitgeist as interests and styles changed across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.