Currier Museum of Art presents poster exhibition

. May 17, 2013

Currier Museum of Art announces Poster Mania! Leisure, Romance and Adventure in 1890s America an exhibition on view May 24, 2013 — Sept. 2, 2013.

Images: Ethel Reed, The Boston Sunday Herald - Ladies Want It Feb. 24, 1895, lithograph, 18 x 12 1/2inches, Gift of Orien B. Dodge, 1943.10.195; Will L. Carqueville, Lippincott's January, 1895, lithograph, 19 1/8 x 12 1/2inches, Gift of Orien B. Dodge, 1943.10.234; Charles Arthur Cox, Bearings For Sale Here, 1896, lithograph, 16 1/16 x 11 1/8 inches, Gift of Orien B. Dodge, PC D 208 (234).

Images: Ethel Reed, The Boston Sunday Herald – Ladies Want It Feb. 24, 1895, lithograph, 18 x 12 1/2inches, Gift of Orien B. Dodge, 1943.10.195; Will L. Carqueville, Lippincott’s January, 1895, lithograph, 19 1/8 x 12 1/2inches, Gift of Orien B. Dodge, 1943.10.234; Charles Arthur Cox, Bearings For Sale Here, 1896, lithograph, 16 1/16 x 11 1/8 inches, Gift of Orien B. Dodge, PC D 208 (234).


Edward Penfield created his first art poster 120 years ago to announce the April 1893 issue of Harper’s monthly magazine. Magazine and book publishers rushed to follow Harper’s lead producing a flood of bold and dazzling placards to announce their latest offerings. These artful, witty, often humorous graphic images inspired the poster mania that gripped the nation in the mid-1890s. The eager public clamored to collect, trade, display and critique the dramatic, ever changing designs. Artists became famous overnight for their personal styles, and they competed in poster competitions. One of America’s most popular artists of the early twentieth century—Maxfield Parrish—first emerged as an award winning poster designer and is represented in the exhibition by several works, including two he did for the state of New Hampshire.

Posters captivated the booming urban middle class and their interest in leisure activities like reading, bicycling, golf and sailing. Competing publishers and their fashion conscious designers helped introduce the public to the avant-garde European art styles of the day. Posters by Edward Penfield and Will Carqueville reflected the influence of French post-impressionists in their use of areas of bold, contrasting color. The sinuous lines and elaborate patterns of designs by Will Bradley and Louis John Rhead were inspired by the trendy new styles of French art nouveau and English arts and crafts. Female artists like Ethel Read and Blanche McManus struck a chord with the rapidly growing population of women readers. Even paintings by artists like Frederick Remington and Everett Shinn were reproduced as posters.

This selection of 80 posters from the Currier’s collection includes some of the most popular and sought after posters from the 1890s. Many are from the collection of Manchester resident Orien Dodge, who gave the Currier Museum 280 original posters in 1943. http://www.currier.org

Category: Exhibition News

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