L'Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters
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. 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.