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Rare Exhibition Art Print / Poster

Rare Exhibition Art Print / Poster Biography


A poster is any large piece of printed paper which hangs from a wall or other such surface. Typically posters include both textual and graphic elements, although a poster may be either wholly graphical or wholly textual. Posters are designed to be both eye-catching and convey information. Posters may be used for many purposes, and they are a frequent tool of advertisers (particularly of events, musicians and films), propagandists, protestors and other groups trying to communicate a message. Posters are also used for reproductions of artwork, particularly famous works. Another type of poster are educational posters, which may be about a particular subject for educational purposes. Related to these are academic or conference are generally low-cost compared to original artwork. Many people also collect posters, and some famous posters have themselves become quite valuable. The most conventional size for graphical posters tends to be around 24 by 36 inches, though posters may be nearly any size. Much smaller printed advertisements are typically known as handbills or flyers.

Posters, in the form of placards and posted bills, have been used for a long time, primarily for advertising and announcements. Purely textual posters have a long history: they advertised the plays of Shakespeare and made citizens aware of government proclamations for centuries. However, the great revolution in posters was the development of printing techniques that allowed for cheap mass production and printing, including notably the technique lithography which was invented in 1796 by the German Alois Senefelder. The invention of lithography was soon followed by chromolithography, which allowed for mass editions of posters illustrated in vibrant colors to be printed.

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. Chéret is considered to be the "father" of advertisement placards. He was a pencil artist and a scene decorator, who founded a small lithography office in Paris in 1866. He used striking characters, contrast and bright colors, and created over 1000 advertisements, primarily for exhibitions, theatres, and products. 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 favorite 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. By the 1890s, poster art had widespread usage in other parts of Europe, advertising everything from bicycles to bullfights. By the end of the 19th century, during an era known as the Belle Époque, the standing of the poster as a serious artform was raised even further. Between 1895 and 1900, Jules Chéret created the Maîtres de l'Affiche (Masters of the Poster) series that became not only a commercial success, but is now seen as an important historical publication. Alphonse Mucha and Eugène Grasset were also influential poster designers of this generation, known for their Art Nouveau style and stylized figures, particularly of women. Advertisement posters became a special type of graphic art in the modern age. Poster artists such as Théophile Steinlen, Albert Guillaume, Leonetto Cappiello and others became important figures of their day, their art form transferred to magazines for advertising as well as for social and political commentary.

In the United States, posters did not evolve to the same artistic level. American posters were primarily directed towards basic commercial needs to deliver a written message. However, the advent of the travelling circus brought colorful posters to tell citizens that a carnival was coming to town. But these too were very commercially utilitarian, of average quality, and few saw any real artistic creativity.

Many posters have had great artistic merit and have become extremely collectible. These include the posters advertising World's Fairs and Colonial Exhibitions.

Other times of great turmoil also produced great posters. The 1960s saw the rise of pop art and protest movements throughout the West; both made great use of posters. Perhaps the most acclaimed posters were those produced by French students during the so-called "événements" of May 1968.

Poster printing

Many printing techniques are used to produce posters. While most posters are mass-produced, posters may also be printed by hand or in limited editions. Most posters are printed on one side and left blank on the back, the better for affixing to a wall or other surface. Pin-up sized posters are usually printed on A3 Standard Silk paper in full colour.

With help of special poster printing software it is possible to print large posters at home on standard A4 printers.

Contemporary poster artists

  • Akiyama Takashi
  • Ferenc Baráth
  • Michal Batory
  • Michel Bouvet
  • Stephan Bundi
  • Seymour Chwast
  • André François
  • Shigeo Fukuda
  • Milton Glaser
  • Roman Kalarus
  • Dóra Keresztes
  • Alain Le Quernec
  • Uwe Loesch
  • Andrey Logvin
  • Pekka Loiri
  • Joao Machado
  • Igor Maistrovsky
  • Chaz Maviyane-Davies
  • Kazumasa Nagai
  • German Montalvo
  • Rafal Olbinski
  • István Orosz
  • Kari Piippo
  • Wieslaw Rosocha
  • Vladislav Rostoka
  • Wiktor Sadowski
  • U.G. Sato
  • Jan Sawka
  • Waldemar Swierzy
  • Niklaus Troxler
  • David Tartakover
  • Wang Xu

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