Art State of Mind

Best Party Posters of the 19th Century

Zuzanna Stańska 31 December 2023 min Read

Although lithography was invented in 1798, at first it was too slow and expensive for poster production. Most posters were made using wood or metal engravings with little color or design. Here are 10 19th-century party posters that will make you feel like dancing, created by geniuses of the 1890s: Cheret, Toulouse-Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha, and many others. Enjoy!

It all began with Jules Cheret. Called the father of the modern poster, he invented the “3-stone lithographic process” in the 1880s. This was a breakthrough that allowed artists to achieve every color in the rainbow with as little as three stones – usually red, yellow, and blue – printed in careful registration. An extremely gifted artist as well, Cheret created more than 1000 posters over his 30-year career. Most of them advertised cabarets, theatre plays, alcohol, and cigarettes. Everything we need to be in the mood for a crazy party!

1. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Confetti

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Confetti, 1894, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA.

Click here to discover rare photographs of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. He was a real prankster!

2. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril, 1893, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA.

Meet Jane Avril in person here. Who was she? And how she came to know Toulouse-Lautrec?

3. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Moulin Rouge

Posters 19th century Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Moulin Rouge: La Goulue, 1891, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Moulin Rouge: La Goulue, 1891, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA.

Ah, Moulin Rouge… This is an iconic place for art history; it housed, entertained, and inspired countless artists in the 19th century. See some depictions of the famous can-can dance at Moulin Rouge in art!

4. Marcello Dudovich, Mele Napoli

Marcello Dudovich, Mele Napoli, 1907. eBay.

Marcello Dudovich was an Italian painter, illustrator, and poster designer. Alphonse Mucha was one of his teachers but Dudovich is famous for developing his own distinctive style.

5. Alphonse Mucha, Champagne Ruinart

Posters 19th century Alphonse Mucha, Ruinart champagne, 1896
Alphonse Mucha, Ruinart Champagne, 1896.

Mucha’s posters for Ruinart champagne are from the same period as his famous posters with the divine Sarah Bernhardt!

6. Alphonse Mucha, Biscuits Champagne

Alphonse Mucha, Biscuits Champagne Lefèvre Utile, 1896. Wikimedia Commons (public domain).

Alphonse Mucha had a major exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art a few years ago. For those who did not see it, here is the exhibition review by one of our authors!

7. Alphonse Mucha, Heidsieck Champagne

Alfons Mucha, Heidsieck & Co., 1901, private collection. Wikimedia Commons (public domain).

The people in Mucha’s poster are in a truly festive mood, sipping their Heidsieck champagne. Are you also in the mood for some artsy cocktails? Here‘s some inspiration.

8. Pierre Bonnard, France Champagne

Pierre Bonnard, France Champagne, 1891. Wikimedia Commons (public domain).

If you’re familiar with the name Les Nabis in art, then you must be familiar with the works of Pierre Bonnard!

9. Jules Cheret, Eldorado Music Hall

Jules Cheret, Eldorado Music Hall, 1894, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.

10. Jules Cheret, Carnaval at the Theatre de l’Opera

Jules Cheret, Carnaval at the Theatre de l’Opera, 1892. McGaw Graphics.

The last two works by Jules Cheret are particularly perfect for New Year’s celebrations or a Carnival if you fancy costumes, masquerades, and balls!

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