poster art
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poster art

By definition, a poster is a big section of printed paper. This can be hung up on a wall or can hang down from a ceiling or put up on a board. Poster art involves the use of both or either text and graphics. Posters that employ only one of the two as content are also not unusual. Posters that use only text, however, were most common in the age of the monarchy as these were used to make royal announcements.

Today, there are many reasons to make posters. An art poster may be the printed reproduction of a famous work of art. Such posters may also be vintage posters and such posters, like any prints would be very expensive. A vintage poster art print can be an advertisement of an old product. For instance, such a poster could include a specific ad campaign launched by a soda company. An art education poster on the other hand would be about a particular academic or educational issue. Such posters have practical rather than artistic value and naturally command a lower price. In fact, most posters have practical value unless in demand by a collector or someone who enjoys keeping stock poster art.

As far as sizes go, the most popular poster size is roughly two feet by three feet. However some posters can be much larger as in the kind of posters that are used on billboards around India. Smaller posters are also a popular form of advertisement in India but these are known as flyers rather than as posters.

It was the major development in art poster printing techniques and the invention of lithography and chromolithography printing techniques that prompted the production of affordable posters.  These techniques grew popular in nineteenth century Europe and many famous artists created posters at that time. Jules Cheret, one of the most respected artists of that time was known for making posters for various functions and events. Jules’ work could be an art show poster on one day, and he would work on advertisement posters for exhibitions or theatre performances the next.

Gradually, over time, the demand for such posters grew to such an extent that the industry of poster-making attracted several artists and painters in search of more lucrative work. Posters then became a common sight in Paris. Each artist would have a special style and eventually theater personalities and other clients started choosing artistic poster styles according to their taste and consequently offered their business to select artists. In that era in Europe, posters soon became equated with graphic art. However, poster art did not see the same fate in the United States of America. There, posters were still viewed as mainly a means of advertisement. European posters of that great era are now in great demand and fetch huge sums in a collectors’ market.

Author ~ Anjana Vaswani


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