cover image Posters of the Belle Epoque

Posters of the Belle Epoque

Rizzoli, Jack Rennert. Rizzoli International Publications, $75 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-918076-75-5

Sheer delight for art lovers and Francophiles, this array of 220 French posters simultaneously traces the flowering of pictorial advertising art and delineates the mores of belle epoque Paris. The posters, from the collection of Marvin Shanken, publisher of the Wine Spectator, deal not only with wines and liquors, but also with changing fashions, the battle between the sexes, class aspirations, and leisure activities from cycling to tennis. Standouts include Toulouse-Lautrec's wry observations of the passing scene; Alphonse Mucha's art-nouveau visions; Jules Cheret's bright, airy show-biz promotions; and works by Pierre Bonnard, Leonetto Cappiello and cat-lover Theophile Steinlen, whose surreal flights of fancy paved the way for modern advertising. Rennert, president of the distributor firm Posters Please, and author of books on Mucha and Tomi Ungerer, tells the story behind each poster. (Oct.)