posters were elaborately illustrated announcements or advertisements,
and not really used as home décor. They often advertised upcoming
concerts and events, and were posted in restaurants, transportation
depots, and other public venues for maximum exposure. Poster art was
also used to label train or ship cargo - any products that were imported
from other states or countries. The boom in crate labels is described
nicely in “The History of the Poster” from Art Source International: “The
industrial boom of the early 20th century gave rise to advertising
posters for virtually every conceivable product and event. Many express
the spirit or stylistic excess of their day, from the primitive and folk
art quality of early circus posters to the sophisticated and streamlined
travel posters of the 1930s.” The crate labels pictured above convey
why these common ads were considered art.
Poster art became
popular as a new color printing method – lithography – took hold in the
19th century. A revolutionary transition from relief
printing (in which images to be transferred were carved on a raised
surface, as on an ink stamp), lithography involved the use of oil based
inks surrounded by water-soaked limestone. Paper would then pick up the
oily drawing; ink could be easily reapplied since it would not adhere to
the water-soaked background. In fact, poster artists, also known as
lithographers, were quite well known in the early twentieth century.
Famous lithographers include Currier & Ives and Toulouse Lautrec. By
the late 1800’s, posters were considered fine art, and displayed in
exhibitions and magazines.
In the early to mid
twentieth century, multicolor screen printing became widely used. This
method is similar to stenciling, but requires a different ink
application and screen panel (usually silk or polyester) for each color
to be printed. Areas (of paper, fabric or canvas) not receiving a
particular color are covered by the screen.
think of posters primarily for home décor (or college dorm room
accessories!), as paintings, illustrations and photographs can be
transferred to papers of varying quality. Giclee, a modern digital
technique that yields long-lasting color art prints, is now a primary
printing method for poster art.
Most of our poster categories include oil
paintings, watercolors, abstract images and creative photographs -- all of which
would qualify as 'poster art'
today. Just browse through our
main poster page or our
incredible nature posters. You are sure
to find the perfect wall art for your home! For more art-related links,
see our poster links page!