Les Maitres de l’Affiche

Alphonse Mucha chromolithograph poster, Salon des Cent, 1897, from Les Maitres de l'Affiche, Imprimerie Chaix, Paris, signed

p4A ItemID F7974654
Alphonse Mucha chromolithograph poster, Bieres de la Muse, 1899, from Les Maitres de l'Affiche, Imprimerie Chaix, Paris, signed

p4A ItemID F7974652
Alphonse Mucha, Gismonda-Bernhardt, chromolithograph poster, 1896, Les Maitres de l'Affiche, signed in stone

p4A ItemID F7974620
William H. Bradley posters, four works from Les Maitres de l'Affiche, Imprimerie Chaix, Paris, printer plus another: The Chap-Book

p4A ItemID F7967098

Les Maitres de l’Affiche

Les Maitres de l’Affiche (The Masters of the Poster) refers to one of the most influential art publications in history. The 256 color plates that make up this suite represent a wide-ranging selection of outstanding original prints from the turn of the twentieth century, when this popular art form first reached its peak.

By the 1890′s the streets of every great city were enlivened by large, colorful posters. The poster had not only caught the fancy of the public, but its best examples were already being regarded as true works of art (specifically, as fine prints) to be exhibited, reviewed in journals, collected and reproduced in a more manageable form. In the last five years of the 19th century, Imprimerie Chaix was to play a great part in codifying, hallowing and perpetuating the ebullient spirit of the Belle Epoque. It was in those years that Cheret’s print shop published smaller chromolithographic versions (in authentic colors) of over 200 highly regarded posters of the times. These prints were created by more than 90 great artists, each bringing this fabulous period to life for us today.

The set of 256 prints, created by Imprimerie Chaix, would become known as Les Maitres de l’Affiche. Each print was rendered as a separate sheet measuring 11″ by 15″. The set was compiled in a unique way. Every month for 60 months – from December 1895, through November 1900 – subscribers received a wrapper containing four consecutively-numbered prints. On 16 occasions (each of the five Decembers, each of the Junes, and the March and September of the final three years) the monthly wrapper also contained a bonus plate, not a poster reproduction but a specially created lithograph. The compilation of this set of original prints makes up the complete suite known as Les Maitres de l’Affiche.

(Information obtained from the Martin Lawrence Galleries web site at http://www.martinlawrence.com/laffiche.html)

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