Jules Chéret, ‘LA PANTOMIME’, ca. 1891, Christopher-Clark Fine Art

Unlike most of the other highly visible, big-name Art Nouveau artists, Chéret designed very few decorative panels, dedicating his art almost entirely to advertising. In fact he only designed two decorative series, comprising a total of six images: The Arts, in 1891, and La Fileuese and La Denteliere for the Paris World's Fair in 1900. Maindron considered these panels to be "perfect" and suggested that the concept of "placards decoratifs" (neither prints nor posters, but a combination of both) were in fact invented by Chéret. The Arts was a series of four images representing the muses. In celebrating the muses, Chéret is also celebrating his triumph in mastering color lithography. By 1891 he is at the peak of his talent, playing freely with the composition and fully enjoying the pleasure of drawing. Adding to the unique quality of these panels is the fact that Chéret was able to completely play with the backgrounds, as no lettering had to be added to clutter the image in any way.

Series: One of four panels comprising the series Les Arts.

Signature: Signed on the stone lower left Chéret.

Publisher: Printed at Imprimerie Chaix (Ateliers Chéret), Paris

About Jules Chéret

The father of modern poster art and a critical figure in the development of the French Belle Époque style, Jules Chéret was the first artist to work with color lithography. Finding little success in France due in part to inadequate printing technology, Chéret moved to London and began designing perfume packaging for Rimmel during the 1860s. Rimmel became Chéret’s patron and financed his commercial lithography studio in Paris. The artist’s free-spirited, Rococo-style female figures, dubbed “Chérettes,” came to not only define Belle Époque advertising but also represent the liberated Parisian woman. Later artists such as Charles Gesmar and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec mimicked his style. Although Chéret had a talent for working with oil paint and pastels, he remains best known for his lithographs, which served as the exemplar of poster design and color theory during the late 19th century.

French, 1836-1932, Paris, France, based in Paris, France