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About Poster Art

Learn more here about the world of vintage advertising posters - its history, its collectability and its major styles and leading national traditions. Since its birth in the late 19th century, the poster has been an important means of mass communication, ever evolving to reflect changes in business, society and design.

A Brief History of the Poster

"Although lithography was invented in 1798, it was at first too slow and expensive for poster production. Most posters were woodblocks or metal engravings with little color or design. This all changed with Cheret's 'three stone lithographic process,' a breakthrough which allowed artists to achieve every color in the rainbow..."


Collecting Original Vintage Posters

"In 1963, during a renovation of the offices of a Parisian literary journal, workmen found hundreds of Toulouse-Lautrec posters rolled up under the floorboards. The ones in the best condition could be bought for a few hundred dollars. Even in the 1970s, one dealer had 100 copies of Lautrec's Divan Japonais, which he sold for $800 each..."


Country Primers

National traditions of poster art are as unique as the countries in which the posters are produced. Enjoy here a glimpse into the forces that shaped some of the most important visual traditions (French, Italian, Soviet and Swiss) with particular emphasis on favorite subjects, styles and leading artists.


Style Primers

Quickly explore the world of poster styles, beginning with the organic flourishes of Art Nouveau illustration in the 1890s, to the minimal and clean International Typographic Style graphics of the Fifties, to the compter-aided designs of today.


Subject Primers

Find background information here on several poster subjects and series of special interest. More information can be obtained on the detail pages of individual items, but here we give a broader background for subjects such as the Ricordi Portfolio and Maitres de l'Affiche.