Art State of Mind

Best Party Posters of the 19th Century

Zuzanna Stańska 31 December 2021 min Read

Are you ready for a crazy party tonight? 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 ten 19th century party posters that will make you feel like dancing, created by geniuses of 1890s: Cheret, Toulouse-Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha, and many others. Enjoy!

This all changed with Jules Cheret. Called the father of the modern poster, he invented the “3 stone lithographic process” in the 1880s. This was a breakthrough which 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, cigarettes… Everything we need to be in mood for a crazy New Year‘s eve party!

1. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Confetti

Posters 19th century Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Confetti, 1894, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Party Posters: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Confetti, 1894, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA.

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

2. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril

Posters 19th century Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril, 1893, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Party Posters: 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
Party Posters: 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

Posters 19th century Marcello Dudovich, Mele Napoli, 1907
Party Posters: Marcello Dudovich, Mele Napoli, 1907. Amazon.

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
Party Posters: Alphonse Mucha, Ruinart Champagne, 1896. AlphonseMucha.org.

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

6. Alphonse Mucha, Biscuits Champagne

Posters 19th century Alfons Mucha, Biscuits Champagne Lefèvre Utile, 1896
Party Posters: Alphonse Mucha, Biscuits Champagne Lefèvre Utile, 1896. Wikimedia Commons (public domain).

Alphonse Mucha’s major exhibition at North Carolina Museum of Art is still available to see! For those who cannot attend – here is the exhibition review.

7. Alphonse Mucha, Heidsieck Champagne

Posters 19th century Alphonse Mucha, Heidsieck Champagne
Party Posters: Alphonse Mucha, Heidsieck Champagne. 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

Posters 19th century Pierre Bonnard, France Champagne, 1891
Party Posters: 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

Posters 19th century Jules Cheret Eldorado Music Hall, V&A
Party Posters:Jules Cheret, Eldorado Music Hall, 1894, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.

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

Posters 19th centuryJules Cheret, Carnival at the Theatre de l'Opera, 1892
Party Posters: Jules Cheret, Carnaval at the Theatre de l’Opera, 1892. Artsy.

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

Happy New Year everyone!

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