Edward Potthast Poster 1896.


Edward Henry Potthast.  “The July Number.  The Century.”  New York, July 1896.  Chromolithograph from aluminum by W.B. Orcutt Co., N.Y.  21 1/4 x 15 3/4.  Very good condition.

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Posters are printed placards, usually text and images, produced for posting in a public place, to be used for communication of information.  They have long been produced, but it was only with the development of lithography that they were able to be produced easily and economically in color and in large quantities.  This sort of poster became an important innovation and by the 1870s became an important means of advertising and promotion.  By the 1890s, especially in France, posters became an important fine art medium, used for magazines, businesses, exhibitions and other events.  Designed by an extensive group of artists in a wide variety of styles, posters became very much part of the aesthetic culture from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

This print is by American impressionist artist, Edward Henry Potthast (1857-1927).  Potthast studied in Germany and Paris, relocating in 1895 to New York, where he began work as an illustrator.  This poster was drawn by him for The Century, a magazine which was the successor to Scribner’s.  Interestingly, the same year it was issued, one of Potthast’s paintings was purchased by the Cincinnati Art Museum, leading Potthast to turn full time to being an artist.