Travelers to France in the 1890s became entranced by the colorful posters appearing on the streets of Paris. Nothing like those existed in the U.S. until Edward Penfield started designing posters for Harper's Magazine in 1893. Other publishers quickly followed and the “poster craze” was born. Their small sizes, c. 11x18, were designed for bookstores and enabled devotees to assemble significant collections. Designers and artists competed to produce startling posters. This fad lasted for about 10 years but, miraculously some collections survived. Poster Plus in the 1970s was able to find some of these treasures which were sold to collectors and found their way to museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
We still have some wonderful examples which we are pleased to offer:
This original literary poster for Harper's May 1895 issue is illustrated with a Spring scene of a lady walking through a field of grazing sheep.
Artist Edward Penfield, Harper's art director, designed a poster each month between 1894 and 1899. He introduced the art poster to Americans after the French had popularized advertising posters as the "art of the people" in the streets of Paris.
Lithograph, Unbacked, 13 x 17 inches
Original vintage posters are rare and availability is subject to prior sale.