A popular form of ephemera, or marketing memorabilia, posters represent socio-political moments, showcase evocative imagery, and commemorate events and artistic productions. They are favored by admirers of certain styles or subject matter, as well as by serious art collectors. Framed or unframed, they make an expressive statement wherever they are hung.
In the late 19th century, chromolithography suddenly created an amazing opportunity to produce large, attention-grabbing notices. The ability to now add color to images pressed upon limestone paved the way for several distinctive movements and turned these pictures into works of treasured art. The Moulin Rouge and Le Chat Noir posters of the late 1800s, known as the Belle Epoque period, perfectly captured Parisian flair, a flirty atmosphere of dancing, cafes, nightlife, and fun. Art Noveau built upon free-flowing themes, with vintage posters full of sharp lines and bold tones. Later on, World War I and II influenced composition details; the Dada period utilized photo montages to represent opinions and feelings of dissent, while Art Deco saw more precise line configurations, landscapes, buildings, and figures.
Jumping forward to the 1960s, swirls of color and funky graphics dominated psychedelic-themed art by Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson. Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Peter Max then brought about classic pop art designs. As we moved into the late 20th century, original posters ranged from simplistic illustrations to replications of photos and paintings to ornate portraits, with print texture and appearance varying between matte, gloss, blacklight, and velvet.
Whether they're limited edition single sheets or often-replicated copies, there's something that resonates with everyone. While searching through the catalogues to buy posters at AbeBooks, you'll see prints of old-time characters such as Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, and Garfield, and the iconic statements of Rosie the Riveter. Find pin-ups of dashing movie stars, anti-war sentiments, scenic cities and countrysides, and multitudes of other new and gently used imagery.