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Collector's Guide


The history of Posters

Posters, images of their time

Posters, from an advertising medium to a collector’s item

Original posters, authentication and classification



In the 1870’s, posters become the main form of advertising. The new printing process “Lithography” opened new horizons, attracted artists and became a new form of Art.

In the 1890’s, an art gallery exhibits Posters and the interest in them has never ceased to grow.



Belle Epoque 1890-1914:  In a society with a growing consumer base that is also looking for new pleasures, artist such as Chéret, Cappiello or Toulouse-Lautrec created images full of fantasy and life. Walls are papered with lovely young ladies, full of subtlety.



Art Nouveau 1890-1914:Using nature for its inspiration, this movement is represented by artists such as Grasset, Mucha, or Privat Livemont. This style is defined by floral images, occasionally worked to abstraction, with rich and luxuriant colours.


Art Deco 1925-1940:This movement has its origins with the fascination of progress, speed and modernism; embodied by artists such as Cassandre, Colin and Carlu … Lettering of pure minimalism, linear shapes and forms, large solid block colours: these are the hallmarks of the posters from this period.


The 50’s:The economy is booming the mood is upbeat; Poster Artists such as Savignac, Morvan and Villemot give us amusing and pertinent images, their strength emanating from the concept. The bright and striking colours are adapted to the new products.



The 70’s:Change in directions, posters became multifaceted. Always created for a commercial end, but also for cultural and political needs. The Posters attract photographers, illustrators and advertising agencies.




With its direct impact, posters are the main form of communication used by all.

As such, it leaves an indelible mark in the collective memory.  Posters will be sought after, for their images, and their subliminal memory left in each of us.




Nowadays, posters are sought after, highly-rated, collected, preserved in museums (in Paris, at the Museum de la Publicité which is part of the Cabinet des Estampes at the Bibliothèque Nationale, the iconographic section of the Bibliothèque Forney and also in thematic museums)

Yet …

Posters were the product of a need, made to be pasted up on walls and ephemeral. Designed by creative research, they appealed with their aesthetic quality, their artistic merit and their everyday impact! As such, they have been diverted from their initial use.

Collectors are quickly seduced. The poster artists created an irresistible desire for the promoted objet in question, and for the poster itself.

Posters become part of the Collectors world and the art market. They give posters credence and a value.



A poster is the result of a commission from an industrialist, an editor, … an illustrator, an agency, …

It is always a multiple and printed in order to be pasted up.

A poster is an original if it was printed following a commission, not if it is a re-issue.

  • The intrinsic quality of the poster
  • The fame of the artist
  • The subject
  • The rarity
  • Its condition …

Are all contributable factors to the value of a poster.

 According to accepted rules of use, posters are described according to the following criteria:

- Condition A: very good condition. Fresh colours. Are admitted: faded margins, folds or  small tears, small restorations that don’t change the original appearance of the poster.
- Condition B: good condition. Defects in the margins, folds, tears, cuts with small losses that may entail slight restoration, without modification of the global aspect of the poster.
- Condition C: good enough condition. Defects that may need a certain amount of restoration that may change the general aspect of the poster.

The + and – will bring more precision.

The dimensions are in cm and in inches.