Author(s): Mary Weaver Chapin
Thanks to innovations in colour lithography, the streets of fin-de-siecle Paris were punctuated with brightly hued posters featuring bold typography and playful imagery. Many of these posters were torn down almost as soon as they were pasted up, finding their way into private homes and, eventually, museums and collections all over the world. Although many artists contributed to the affichomanie, or "poster craze," one of the most famous among them was Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. This gorgeous book offers exquisite reproductions of more than one hundred posters, including those by Lautrec and his contemporaries Bonnard, Picasso, Cheret and Mucha. Advertising everything from tony theatre productions to the licentious cancan, bicycles to biscuits, these posters range from cheerfully exuberant to slyly decadent. In her essay, Mary Weaver Chapin captures the voices of the artists, collectors and critics who fuelled the poster craze of the 1890s. The result is a visual spectacle, a lively discourse on the value and purpose of art, and a celebration of a historically and creatively dynamic era.
Mary Weaver Chapin is Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Milwaukee Art Museum.