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L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters

Meant to stop people in their tracks with bold colors and seductive imagery, French advertising posters of the turn of the 20th century ultimately became highly collectible works of art. L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters presents the work of five innovative artists: Jules Chéret, Eugène Grasset, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Alphonse Mucha, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The relaxed printing and posting guidelines granted in 1881 by the Freedom of the Press Law, along with new developments in commercial printing, resulted in tens of thousands of posters being plastered in the streets of Paris every year. These large, colorful prints were displayed on walls, kiosks, public urinals, and advertising carts throughout the city. The craze for posters, known as affichomanie, had begun. Depicting various products, inventions, events, and the famed performers of Montmartre—the emerging Bohemian center of Paris—posters brought art to the streets and into the home.

L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters includes nearly 60 vibrant works from the turn of the century. Organized by the Richard H. Driehaus Museum in Chicago, the exhibition will premiere at the Taft Museum of Art, its first stop on a nationwide tour.
Relevant research areas: Western Europe, 19th Century, Lithography

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