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L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters

by Jeannine Falino Driehaus Museum
Pub Date:
Pbk 144 pages
AU$73.99 NZ$75.64
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Bright and bold and found everywhere in fin-de-siècle Paris, the poster was a brilliant fusion of art and commerce. New printing methods made it possible to distribute and post vivid, full-color prints, spurring both artists and advertisers to take advantage of these public canvases. During its golden age in Paris, the poster was acclaimed for enlivening city streets, even as it was decried for its raucous colors, overt commodification, sexualized female figures, and oversized imagery. Collectors raced to snap up these ephemeral art pieces, sparking a frenzied demand dubbed affichomania, complete with its own experts and specialized publications containing small-scale prints for the home.  


A companion to a future exhibition at the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters is a lavishly illustrated collection of these posters focusing on the work of five masters: Jules Chéret, the acknowledged founder of the field, Eugène Grasset, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Alphonse Mucha, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. All are drawn from the Collection of Richard H. Driehaus. With rising auction prices and the popularity of modern reprints, it is clear that affichomania is here to stay.
"A refreshing presentation. . . . Curator Jeannine Falino’s substantial introductory essay describes the technological, economic, and legal developments that converged to foster the development of this new form of advertisement and art. . .Falino provides a succinct study of each artist, including the development of their careers and, most interestingly, particular characteristics and the influences that impacted their art. . . . The essay provides an excellent context for the appreciation and understanding of the works on display. The true stars of this large-format book are the color reproductions of these forty-four posters. Most informative are the brief paragraphs alongside each image that place the work in context and explain the product or event advertised, the persons depicted, and the circumstances of the creation of the poster. These details motivate the reader to look closely at each image and to understand it in the context of the period. This book brings to life these advertisements and provides us with a newfound appreciation for their beauty and cultural importance."
Jeannine Falino is an independent curator specializing in decorative arts. Her books include Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design and American Luxury: Jewels from the House of Tiffany.