Edward Penfield: A Biography

The Grolier Exhibit, Nov 1890

The First Showing

November of 1890 saw the first public exhibit of European posters in America. The show generated much interest in European poster artists, and at the same time sparked a debate on the finer qualities of European art over American. Sponsored by the Grolier Club, the exhibit included one hundred posters and book covers, mostly French. Half of the works were by Jules Chéret and Eugene Grasset (forty-five by Chéret alone); only seven were by American artists. These American posters, wrote Roberta Wong, “were highly realistic, since the draughtsmen who transferred the artists’ drawings onto the lithographic stone usually achieved a precision and a finish that rivalled the photograph and permitted little individuality of style.”

Audiences were impressed by “the colorful placards of Chéret and Grasset which outshown the few realistic posters by American lithographers, particularly [those of] Matt Morgan.”

“American posters show little personal impulsion; all are good,” a critic for The Art Amateur reviewed, “but it is impossible to tell Matt Morgan’s work from W.J. Morgan’s, or the latter from Thomas’s and Wylie’s...”

At the Rooms of the Grolier Club, at 29 East 32d St., New York, November, 1890.

 
INTRODUCTION.

The illustrated artistic poster (affiche) is, relatively, a new-comer in the domain of the collector.

It belongs to what may be called ephemeral or fugitive art, and, but for the collector, would only for a short time decorate our streets and avenues, and then disappear forever. That it has at last conquered its right to stay, is shown by the fact that there have been within the last two years two successful exhibitions ; one in paris and another in nantes, exclusively of illustrated posters. This colelction is not as large as either the paris or nantes exhibit, but it contains many of the best specimins of each, and a few samples of the art in this country.

The modern illustrated poster first appeared about 1830, and artists such as RAFLET, GRANDVILLE, DAUMIER and others contributed largely to its artistic success. Since then, the progress has been marvelous, and, to-day, the works of CHÉRET, GRASSET, LÉVY, CHOUBRAC, etc., are, many of them, masterpieces of high artistic merit and taste, until it has come to pass, as in the case of one of Chéret’s posters, to a certian panorama, quoted by Béraldi under No. 253 of Chéret’s works, that the poster of Chéret was far superior in its artistic and dramatic effect to the panorama itself.

For a full and complete history and description of the art illustrated by the few choice specimens now exhibited, the work of Maindron, “Les affiches illustrées,” and of Béraldi, “Les graveurs du XIXème siècle,” may be profitably consulted.

1 Aux Buttes Chaumont. Béraldi, 187
2 Œuvres de Rabelais. B. 226
3 Souvenir de l’Exposition.
4 Aux Buttes Chaumont, Étennes, 1885. B.183
5 Le Comte de Monte-Cristo. B. 228
6 Les Trois Mousquetaires.
7 L’Hiver à Nice.
8 Les Mystéres du Palais Royal. B. 219
9 Le Rappel.
10 David Copperfield. B. 220
11 Table d’Hôte Richardot. B. 82
12 Skobeleff.
13 Les Miséres des Enfants Trouvés.
14 Casino d’Enghien.
15 Les Dames Hongroises.
16 Trouville.
17 Les Misérables. B. 214
18 La Closerie des Genêts.
19 Le Figaro Illustré. B. 227
20 Fête des Fleurs.
21 Les Sept Péchés Capitaux. B. 225
22 Histoire d’un Crime. B. 215
23 Le Secret de Daniel.
24 Le Comte de Monte-Cristo. B. 229
25 Exposition au Bénéfice de Marins.
26 Théâtrophone.
27 L’Homme qui Rit.
28 Rôtissoire Automatique. B. 72
29 Le Trône d’Écosse.
30 Pan.
31 La Diva.
32 Cirque Corvi. B. 417
33 Hippodrome, Cinq Bœufs. B. 293
34 La Biche au Bois. B. 475
35 Les Deux Orphelines. B. 476
36 Cover of “Les Affiches Illustrées.”
37 Reproductions from “Les Affiches Illustrées.”
38 Programme Hippodrome.
 
BOOK COVERS. 
39 Lulu.
40 Galipettes de Galipaux.
Pile de Pont.
41 En Mer.
Mon Petit Premier.
42 Paris qui Rit.
Beau Mignon.
43 Voyage de Découverte, de A’Kempis.
Entré des Clowns.
44 Les Petits Japonais.
45 Exposition des Arts Incohérents.
 
46 L’Odéon.
47 L’Age du Romantisme.
48 L’Age du Romantisme (avec la lettre).
49 Les Fetes de Paris.
50 Jeanne d’Arc.
 
51 Cirque d’Hiver.
52 Cirque d’Eté.
53 Cendrillonette.
54 Kachalot-Ball.
55 La Vie Parisienne.
56 La Fauvette du Temple.
57 Hippodrome.
 
58 Hippodrome, Jeanne d’Arc.
 
59 Pierrefonds.
60 La Maison Grise.
61 Les Bains de Mer de l’Océan.
 
62 L’Abbé Constantin.
 
63 L’Hiver à Nice.
 
64 Le Bataillon des Marseillais.
 
65 L’Alcôve des Rois.
66 Histoire de Bismark.
 
67 Le Ventre de Paris.
 
68 Thèodora.
 
69 Fête de Bienfaisance.
70 Vichy.
 
71 Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville.
 
72 Folies-Bergères.
 
73 Élections Législatives du 22 Septembre.
 
74 Ode Triomphale.
 
75 Quatre-vigt-treize.
 
76 Lakmé.
77 La Béarnaise.
78 La Marjolaine.
 
79 L’Indépendance Belge.
 
80 La Belle Miette.
81 Au Bazar des Halles et Postes.
82 Messaline.
83 Où couvent-ils? Exposition d’Affiches.
84 Le Marchand de Diamants.
85 La Grâce de Dieu.
86 Jennie l’Ouvrière.
87 Jeanne d’Arc.
88 Notr-Dame de Paris.
89 La Fille du Tambour-Major.
90 Janot.
91 La Vie Mondaine.
92 Histoire Illustrée du Second Empire.
93 Paris en main Guide.
 
94 The Soccarth.
 
95 Sieba and the Seven Ravens.
96 R.D. MacLean in Richard III.
97 Camp Scene from Ganelon.
 
98 Money Mad.
99 Alvin Joslin.
100 Guilty without Crime.

Grolier Club. Catalogue of an exhibition of illustrated bill-posters. New York: The Grolier Club, Nov 1890.

Margolin, Victor. American poster rennaisance. New York: Watson-Guptill, 1975. 19.

Wong, Roberta Waddell. American posters of the nineties. Boston: Boston Public Library, 1974. 7.


 
Copyright © 1999-2017 Martin S. Lindsay. All rights reserved. This is a preliminary draft only, not for publication. All material herein is subject to correction. For more info, contact author. Rev 20110329