Jules Cheret – Father of the Modern Poster


The Belle Époque era (1871-1914) was an age of artistic renaissance. As train travel and industrial growth created new jobs and a fast way to reach them, cities like Paris became the most crowded they had been in modern times. Artists flocked to the metropolis during this era, making it very much the center of the art world. With this exciting growth came real logistical struggles; and the narrow alleyways of Paris needed to expand.

By 1870, Paris boasted wide boulevards and grand monumental buildings. Surreptitiously, while Paris was being rebuilt great advances were also being made in the field of printmaking. Jules Cheret discovered a faster and more efficient way of printing multi-colored posters, and modern advertising changed forever.

The artists of the Belle Époque could now, quite literally, take their artwork to the streets. Two of the most important poster artists of this era are the innovative printmaker, Jules Cheret and the groundbreaking artists, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Here we focus on Cheret, please click here to read all about Lautrec.

While Henri de Toulouse Lautrec was living la vie boheme in Montmartre, Jules Cheret was an established professional posterist, the first of his kind. Jules Cheret is an important figure in poster history. He pioneered the art of color lithography, and for this is commonly referred to as the, “Father of Poster Design”. It is because of his innovation that poster art became an industry.

The Paris of Cheret was very different than Lautrec’s; Cheret was a native Parisian and grew up surrounded by the laissez-faire political and social movements as they developed. He was a man of the people, and his style reflects a brighter, happier version of the Paris he shared with Lautrec.

Paired with his creativity and artistic flair, Cheret created advertisements for cabarets, music halls, and theaters. He used the influence of the Rococo to create vivid advertising, often featuring free-spirited young women that became known as “Cherettes.” These figures have become quintessential Belle Époque images. Click here to view all pieces by Cheret currently in stock.

In addition to some wonderful posters by Jules Cheret, we are honored to also have a beautiful pastel by the artist in the Gallery. This is a unique piece created by Jules Cheret in 1910. It is a composite image of four attractive women, created using pastels on canvas. It is in the hand of the master artist and was created one year before Cheret produced his last poster. The drawing measures 19.5” x 23.5” and is in a recent frame measuring 27.25” x 31”. It is in excellent condition. It is available for viewing in our Gallery, and additional photos can be seen here.

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