1872 Signed Jules Cheret Poster
Cheret was born in 1836 to a humble family of artisans. He had little education, but at 13, began what was to be a three year apprenticeship to a lithographer. Although he aspired to become a fine artist, he began to take commercial commissions for money. He bounced between Paris and London, ending back in Paris where he designed his first poster and met the perfume manufacturer, Eugene Rimmel, who helped him finance his own lithography studio which opened in 1866. During those first few years, when this poster was printed in Paris, his posters, some of his rarest images, were small, and he inked only three stones, black, blue, and red. But he was technically innovative, developing color stone lithography to a point where he could express a whole spectrum of colors with only three or four stones, and he began to win awards by 1879.
For Cheret, being in Paris during those years was a case of being in the right place at the right time. As the industrial revolution provided more of the necessities of life, there arose a need to sell more luxurious items, and the poster became the French advertising vehicle of choice. Cheret was the great innovator in this perfect collaboration between art and commerce.
This wonderful poster is signed in the stone, and dated '72. It came out of the William Guthman estate, part of which was sold locally here in the Hudson Valley.
Condition is good. I have not opened the back of the frame, but there looks to be a bit of restoration with some minor overpainting just under the bow on the clown's hat. There seems to have been a small hole in the white area that now shows canvas backing, and the restoration looks to have been professionally done. I cannot see the edges as the piece is matted, and so cannot speak to their condition. The overall dimensions are 27 1/2" x 21 1/2", and the sight size of the image inside the mat is 15 3/4" x 11 3/8". It is astonishing that this fragile paper is in such good condition, it is a rare, exquisite, and desirable piece.
The jester and clown are lively characters, and the voluptuous woman expresses the 'joie de vie' of Paris in those heady days leading up to 'La Belle Epoche.' Exotic characters and beautiful women always epitomized the laissez-faire attitude rampant in late 19th century Paris for Cheret. You can see it all starting here in this early piece. It is truly a treasure.
Item ID: RL-413
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