Hannah Furnell


Graphic Designer, Manchester www.hannahfurnell.co.uk

The Golden Age of the Poster

This morning we had a lecture on the art movement of ‘Art Nouveau’, which came about in the turn of the 20th century. This style was used on things such as furniture, household objects, architecture and artwork. It was very much based on nature and contained curved lines and very decorative patterns. Art nouveau was also christened ‘The Golden Age of the Poster’ since in this period; streets were covered in posters. This gave artists an opportunity to bring their arts to the streets. Posters are also one of the most effective methods of communication, they are cheap to produce and despite computer technology, they are easily accessible and easily distributed. Some of the posters we looked at were by French artists: Alphonse Mucha, Jules Cheret and Toulouse Lautrec. Alphonse Mucha often uses beautiful women with long flowing hair (also known as whiplash curves) in his pieces, which became a trademark in his work, with very bold outlines to define the subjects of his art from the very detailed backgrounds. His work was also very ahead of the times; in his poster ‘Job’ (1898), he uses a sexual link in the way he puts across his advertisement, subtly linking the cigarette to the pleasure of the woman. Jules Cheret was the first to create colour lithography. Cheret and Toulouse Lautrec created very similar posters, linked mostly to the Moulin Rouge and other popular shows in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century. Most of these posters contain few words and very simple images, which gives impact to the viewer. You can also see a Japanese influence in the way they work. Their work can be found at the following websites:http://www.muchafoundation.org/MGallery.aspx (Alphonse Mucha) http://www.jules-cheret.org/ (Jules Cheret) http://www.lautrec.info/ (Toulouse Lautrec) Art Nouveau Interior - Horta Hotel Alphonse Mucha - Job (1898) Jules Cheret - Moulin Rouge Toulouse Lautrec - Moulin rouge (1891)