Monday, 15 March 2010

Poster Post

These posters really do have to be seen to be believed. All too familiar from reproductions in books, they are as close to the original large posters that got stuck up on those ubiquitous advertising columns (colonnes Morris) on the Paris streets of the 1890s as it's possible to be. In fact, they're even better. The print runs of the large posters were extended so that collectors could eagerly buy them for their truly awesome designs. But because you needed a fairly large salon to show them off, the original printers, Imprimerie Chaix, sent four reduced copies every month to subscribers, from December 1895 to November 1900. The gallery has a first set here now. The man behind it all deserves to be in the pantheon of graphic designers that these days would include Milton Glaser, Saul Bass and Alan Fletcher. Jules Cheret (there's an acute accent on the first 'e') was not only a formidable artist in his own right, but his three-stone lithographic process meant that designers were quick to recognise that their work would be displayed for everyone in rich, vivid colours. And it wasn't just Parisien or indeed French designers that benefitted. Alongside the instantly recognisable Lautrec and Mucha are the Beggarstaff Brothers and Maxfield Parrish. You can find out more here, but be quick, I'm trying to find a way of smuggling them out round the back where's there's an easy climb over the wall to the car park.

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