This post is reprinted from an article I wrote in May 2013
Vintage reproduction posters have become popular and fashionable. You have seen them. They display everything from turn-of-the-century Paris, consumer products, music and old movies. But, It is a way to bring fine art into your home at a modest price. The draw back is that vintage reproduction posters are not as rare or valuable as the original artwork or poster. But, sometimes (as in many collectible rock posters from the 1960s) a poster becomes so popular that even the second or third printing can be priceless.
How did “The Poster” Come About?
Printed posters can be dated back to the 15th century. But they were considered more public announcements than posters (like for patriotism, taxation without representation, etc.). In 1860 with the invention of the lithograph, this allowed posters to be colorful, cheap and easy to print. This is considered the real start of what we consider “posters” these days.
The French Masters
French modern poster artist Jules Cheret and master of Art Nouveau, Henri de Toulouce – Lautrec were instrumental in popularizing poster art. Their bold and dramatic style depicting the Parisian personalities and life style of the day, was a perfect fit for the poster medium. So much so, people started to collect, re-print and sell them as Vintage Reproduction Posters. Of course art nouveau has come in and out of style thru the years. But, never-the-less it is striking when you see it displayed in a poster. It is very unique.
Posters Influence History
After dominating Paris displays for 30 years, posters arrive in America courtesy of the artist Will Bradley. Who was an American Art Nouveau illustrator. Many times called “The Dean of American Designers” he was the highest paid artist of the early 1900’s.
Soon in 1914 the first World War would break out. This of course was before the age of T.V. and motion pictures. Now considered Vintage Reproduction Posters they became a huge tool ( a major one) to get the media attention. They were easy to produce visually compelling and easy to post where the public was sure to see it. There were certainly encouraging call to arms posters and also propaganda ones. Never the less the public was showered with them to persuade their view of events. The good and the bad. This would continue on through World War II.
The 1960s Posters
During the 1950s and early 60s (in the United States) posters came back around to announcing events like Boxing, Wrestling, and early rock and roll shows. Rock Posters during the 1960s brought a resurgence in the bold, beautiful, and colorful brand of posters produced by those famous art nouveau artists from Paris in the late 1800s.
Posters teach us a lot about our society and history. To display Vintage Reproduction Posters can reflect the art of the time but bring back many welcome memories, as well.