The Masters of Poster Art

On 17 September 2021, by Philippe Dufour

Published for five years, this famous collection put Mucha, Adolphe Willette and Théophile Steinlen within reach of their admirers.

Les Maîtres de l'affiche (The Masters of the Poster), complete collection of 240 chromolithograph plates and 16 original lithographs (Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec for La Revue blanche, 1897), five hardbound folios, Paris, imprimerie Chaix, 1896-1900.-
Result: €39,680

On the cover of La Gazette no. 30, the delicate profile of an Art Nouveau lover drawn by Georges de Feure announced the sale of a monument devoted to French posters. This highly sought-after set brings together the art form’s finest examples in five folio bindings published between December 1895 and November 1900. Jules Chéret gave the idea to printer Chaix, thanks to whom the works of the best poster artists of the turn of the 20th century hung on walls in Paris and all of France.

This mint-condition copy of Les Maîtres de l'affiche (The Masters of the Poster) is complete with 240 chromolithograph plates and 16 superb original lithographs offered to subscribers as a bonus. From Toulouse-Lautrec to Bonnard, a whole generation of brilliant artists took part in the difficult business of "advertising". The edition boasts a cardboard cover illustrated by Paul Berthon and bound by Engel. The lot fetched €39,680, tripling its high estimate.

Next came something more offbeat: L'Album des soirées fantastiques de Robert Houdin au Palais-Royal (The Album of Robert Houdin's Fantastic Evenings at the Palais-Royal) published by Guiraudet in Paris in 1851. It comes in an oblong format of 22 lavishly illustrated pages constituting the second, extremely rare volume of a series about the tricks of famous escape artist Houdini (the National Library of France (BnF) only has the first volume). It found a buyer at €4,960.

Thursday 09 September 2021 - 10:30 - Catalogue
Pascal Blouet

The most talented Belle Époque artists, including Chéret, Mucha and Toulouse-Lautrec, were masters of the poster. They were enlisted to sway the undecided—a theme still relevant today.

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