Vintage Poster for the Bungalow — Maitres De l’Affiche P.2

December 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

There was a poster collecting craze in the 1890’s and those lucky enough to live in major cities would steal posters from the walls of buildings or pay printers to save them an extra poster.  Posters and poster collecting was all the rage, and the public read about this new hobby in newspapers and magazines.


Hugo d’Alesi, Centenaire Lithographie 1897

Those interested in this new phenomenon signed up for an annual subscription to the Maîtres, and paid 27 francs per year. Subscribers received a folio in the mail every month containing 4 miniature poster prints as well as bonus plates quarterly. At the end of the year, subscribers were offered the opportunity to buy a leather volume, inscribed by artist Paul Berthon into which they could bind their annual collection.


Hohenstein, Maitre Plate 180- Iris 1899

The series was conceived of by Jules Cheret, a French poster artist and printer, who is sometimes referred to as the “Father of the Poster.”  Cheret was a master lithographer, and he was also a talented promoter who encouraged the public to collect advertising posters, thereby developing a secondary market for these ephemeral creations.  With Les Maitres de L’Affiche, Cheret selected the finest designs of the time period, paid his draftsmen to render them in miniature, and printed them using state of the art print methods on high quality paper.  Each print bears an embossed blind stamp and they are numbered consecutively.  Because of Cheret’s editorial function- he hand picked each poster- of the 256 plates, 67 are his own work. Outside of France, Cheret admired the work of artists from the United States, Britain, Belgium and to a lesser extent, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary.  As a result, the Maitres represent an edited survey of the finest poster art from around the world in the late 19th century.

This post is part 2 of a 4 part series about Les Maitres De L’Affiche
Post was written by Elizabeth Norris, Proprietor of Vintage European Posters and

Visit our shop at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley this month Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11-5.  Holiday weekends December 7-8 and December 14-15.


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