Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lithographic Vintage Posters

Henri Matisse "Madame de Pompadour" 1951
Vintage poster collecting became fashionable at the turn of the 19th Century. Vintage posters were a vibrant and expressive form of advertising meant to attract the throngs of everyday consumers in cities both large and small. These vintage posters had to be visually striking and immediately convey their message in order to entice the viewer. Vintage posters were typically placed at street (eye) level, and often these vintage posters were positioned in prominent areas such as gallery windows, railway stations, street kiosks, or on the sides of buildings where the vintage posters could be easily seen.

Pablo Picasso "Galerie Beyeler" 1967
As vintage poster collecting grew more popular, vintage posters were burglarized from billboards at an alarming rate, and it became increasingly difficult for advertisers to keep their vintage posters on the streets. As a solution to the problem, vintage poster lithography workshops increased production and began selling the vintage posters to the public.

Marc Chagall "Le Baie des Anges" 1962
These collectable vintage posters were created in lithography print workshops (also known as ateliers) that specialized in the print medium of Lithography. The Atelier Mourlot, founded in 1852, was a lithography print studio located in Paris that produced a number of vintage posters. Originally a printer of fine wallpaper, the Atelier Mourlot became involved in the printing of illustrated books as well as high quality vintage posters for the French National Museums and major foreign institutions. By 1937 the Mourlot lithography studio had established a reputation as the largest print workshop of vintage posters by master artists.

Joan Miro "Galerie Maeght" 1948
The Atelier Mourlot lithography studio was generationally operated by the sons of founder Francois Mourlot. The Atelier Mourlot took a modern artistic turn when Fernand Mourlot invited the master artists of the time into the Mourlot lithography studios to learn the technique of lithography. The Atelier Mourlot lithography studio played host to many major 20th century master artists including: Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Miro, Chagall, Leger, Dubuffet, Moore, Le Corbusier, Calder, Kelly, Rauschenberg, Matta, Bacon, Ernst, Lichtenstein, and many more.

Marc Chagall "The Magic Flute" 1967
Mourlot encouraged these master artists to work directly on the lithography stones or plates to create original vintage posters which would then be printed in small editions. The results of this artistic print collaboration between master artists and Mourlot were technically inventive, visually captivating and opened a unique realm of creative expression known as Fine Art lithography. Mourlot was proud of these vintage posters which bore the Mourlot family name and they became known worldwide for their originality, beauty and craftsmanship.

Original vintage posters by master artists of the 20th Century, have come to be recognized as a highly collectible form of art, whether for pleasure or for investment purposes. World-renowned museums exhibit vintage posters and many have permanent collections of vintage posters. Magnificent examples of such vintage poster collections can be found at the Louvre, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Le Corbusier "Tapisseries Recents" 1960

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