For over two hundred years, posters have been displayed in public places all over the world. They have been designed to attract the attention of the public and make them aware of a political viewpoint, to attend specific events, or encouraging them to purchase a particular product or service.
The modern poster, as we know it, dates back to 1870 when the printing industry perfected colour lithography. In little more than a hundred years, it has come to be recognized as a vital art form, attracting artists at every level, from painters like Toulouse-Lautrec and Mucha to theatrical and commercial designers They have ranged in styles from Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Cubism, Art Deco and Bauhaus.
By the 1890s, the technique had spread throughout Europe. A number of noted artists created poster art in this period, foremost amongst them Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Jules Chéret. The industry soon attracted the service of many aspiring painters who needed a source of revenue to support themselves.
Posters soon transformed the thoroughfares of Paris into the "art galleries of the street." Their commercial success was such that some of the artists were in great demand and theatre stars personally selected their own favourite artist to do the poster for an upcoming performance. The popularity of poster art was such that in 1884 a major exhibition was held in Paris.
To purchase a print of a poster go to French Posters Portfolio