A superb impression of the definitive state. From the edition issued as a supplement to the French newspaper Le Courrier Francais, February 16, 1896. Printed at Imprimerie Chaix (Ateliers Chret) with their credit line added to the stone lower left. Signed on the stone lower right Chret / 96. Catalogue reference: Broido 879.
Jules Chret is regarded as the father of modern lithography. He created not only a new art form but a new industry as well. His training as a lithographer, superb draftsman, and his innate sense of color enabled him to raise the technical and esthetic levels of the poster to new heights of artistic sophistication.Large outdoor posters appeared for the first time in the last half of the 19th century, as the street had become the common mans art gallery.
The illustrated poster was virtually unknown in Paris as an outdoor advertising medium. La Biche Au Bois (The Doe in the Woods) 1866, the first effort of Imprimerie Jules Chret, was an enormous success. Chrets career was launched and a new art had come of age. Between 1866 and 1881 Chret perfected his style and technique. He used successive stones of red, yellow, and blue followed by a fourth stone for an overlay of transparent tints. It is said that his miracle was in adapting the former heavy, cold, and somber lithography to the delicate, powdery, and fluid grace of pastels. By the turn of the century he had produced an impressive collection of poster designs. Chrets first official recognition was when he won a silver medal at the 1878 international Exposition and a gold medal in 1889. The same year an exhibition of approximately 100 of his posters, lithographs, drawings, and paintings were shown at the Theatre dApplication. The most eminent critics set their seal of approval on his popular success. In 1890 he was made a Chevalier of the Legion dHonour with a citation which called him creator of an art industry science 1866, by the application of art to commercial and industrial printing. He was later promoted in varying levels up to the highest rank, a Grand Prix, at the Universal Exhibition in 1900. Since Cheret did not submit his works to the salons, nor show in galleries, his paintings and drawings were primarily acquired by friends and patrons.
In 1912 Chret was honored by the Louvre Museum with a retrospective exhibition at the Pavillion de Maison. The Musee Jules Chret was founded in Nice in 1928. A large collection of Chrets work also hangs in The Hermitage Museum in Russia. From his humble beginnings, he had reached the pinnacle of fame in art and in an industry he created himself. The greatest artists of his time were his friends and admirers, including Monet, Degas and Seurat. In addition, artists including Toulouse-Lautrec, Steinlen, Willette, and Legrand, admired and accepted him as a leader in the field of advertising art.
Chret died in September 1932 at the age of 96. In 1933, the Autumn Salon in Paris paid homage to the artist and his tremendous accomplishments.
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