MASTERS OF THE POSTER
1895 – 1900
Les Maîtres de l'Affiche (The Masters of the Poster) is one of the most prestigious and influential art publications in history. Its 256 color plates from the turn of the century were issued as separate numbered sheets measuring 11 1/4 x 15 1/2" every month for 60 consecutive months. From December 1895 through November 1900, subscribers received a wrapper containing four consecutively numbered poster lithographic works. On 16 occasions, the monthly wrapper also contained a bonus plate, not a poster reproduction, but a specially created art lithograph.
Jules Chèret, artistic director of Imprimerie Chaix and father of the modern poster, emerged with the majority of the plates, one of every 4 issued per month, and seven of the 16 bonus plates. Of the 97 artists represented in Les Maîtres de l'Affiche, some were preeminent painters and printmakers at various stages of their careers, Toulouse-Lautrec and Bonnard among them. There were also those artists whose names say "poster," the pioneers of the new medium such as Chèret himself, Mucha, Steinlen, the Beggarstaffs, Grasset, and Parrish.