Illustrated posters first became established in the 19th century to fulfil the growing advertising needs of an industrial society in full swing. Right from the outset, the best and most famous artists of the age contributed to this medium. The art-poster concept spread like wildfire and began to blossom in many countries. Advertising professionals seized upon it and turned it into a promotional force which could not be ignored, and subsequently came to define the 20th century. Sometimes assuming unexpected forms, the concept continues to flourish and 21st-century creative artists concede nothing to their predecessors.
Forever ephemeral and fragile, the illustrated poster must display a powerful and expressive image to achieve its full effect. This unique blend of art, graphic design, creative advertising, and great ideas or sweeping assumptions, now seems to have become an almost immortal concept.
Collectors are rarely wrong, and early in the 19th century they began to snap up these brilliant images often executed with incomparable talent. Today, that impetus still survives: original posters are an important feature of international art markets where they are recognised as a specific genre full of its own dynamism and originality.
The vintage poster offers countless areas of interest because of the enormous diversity of artists, themes, graphic techniques and subjects. Collectors can classify them by era - Art Nouveau or Art Deco, for example - graphic design method, subject, country or creative artist. The illustrated poster has also attracted the attention of historical- and academic studies, and has obviously influenced picture books too.
However, these original vintage posters are not just the preserve of collectors. Growing numbers of enthusiasts value them as a unique and distinctive way to decorate a private- or professional space: beautiful, authentic, elegantly framed posters create a unique atmosphere in offices, communal areas, apartments, and chalets, and their diversity means they can be adapted to blend with any décor or environment.