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Posters are a way of finding things out about a country that nothing else will tell you. These are from India, seen here.
Above and below are posters made for schools in India and designed to show boys and girls what they need to know. The lessons in how to be an ideal boy seen here.
More posters for Indian school children, those above about what a child of India is and what a family is. From the publisher’s site here
Indians like movies a lot of course, and lots of the posters produced there are movie posters. Above Indian street scene seen here.
Tarzan was attracted to the Bollywood scene himself for a while. He saw no reason to alter his costume, apparently. Found here.
Two nifty Indian movie posters above were part of an exhibit in Australia. Info here
But modern India is establishing its own style on the world stage. These above from a chain of stores called Bombay Store and the elements of the poster are mostly things they sell in the store. Nice. Found here.
India is changing fast and its posters will help us see where it’s going.
Posters showing people dancing were among the first ever produced. Since then, many great dancers, along with many simply good ones, have appeared on posters. Two great ones from the 1991 Merce Cunningham Dance Company flying high above. Found here.
The 1920s and 30s produced a lot of amazing dancers, and a lot of great posters like the above four all found at the equally amazing International Poster Gallery, here.
This for the Baseler Ballett is pure poster art. By Herbert Leupin.
A little tribute to the hokey pokey by Picasso in 1961
Two for the Montreux Jazz Festival featuring people dancing by themselves, as people do at festivals. Jazz and otherwise. From International Posters, again.
Twyla Tharp above left is a modern master. Giselle was first performed in 1840 and is still going strong.
The two above posters are for an annual dance concert at Randolph Macon Women’s College. Nice. Seen here.
And the above is calendar of posters for the Martha Graham Dance Company. Go here.
If you want to pick up a nice dance poster, you can find them at auction. The above bunch sold at a Swann Galleries at auction in April 2010, seen here.
If you’d like to get into the act and do a bit of dancing yourself, there are lots of places to shake a leg and learn new steps. And you can also enter competitions in all sorts of places-including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (!).
First you might want to get your feet and knees in tip top shape at a dance camp. extreme or otherwise. And one day….
Sound the horns, the poster comes to life in Europe and America in the 1880s and ’90s.
Paris led the way in the old world with eye-catching posters popping up all over, usually drawing attention to a performance, usually by a woman. Above trombonist, Marguerite Dufay, must have been something to see. Found here.
These are more typical of late 19th century Parisienne posters where a pretty face and a narrow waist mattered most, not the musicianship.
Artists who eventually became extremely well known joined the poster making brigade. This nice poster above by Pierre Bonnard. Others who were part of the same bunch and well regarded, poster-wise, are not well known today, outside poster collectors , but the work holds up.
Nice one by Franz Hazenplug (who?) above.
Theophile Steinlen, Swiss born, the great observer of cats and children, 1859 – 1923, produced the above milky scene.
Above by Cappiello of lady about town, smokin’ and sippin’ champagne. He went on to a long career as a poster specialist and was very influential in the first 30 years of the 20th century
Next 6 above from the well stocked Poster Show, seen here.
Crossing the Atlantic at the end of the 19th century, you found that America had lots of posters too. But with some differences from the old world.
American women were often depicted working at things other than singing and dancing, smoking or drinking champagne.
Ladies Home Journal poster 1896. Not a smoke or a drink in sight. She seems to be a physician (look at that bag) on her break.
This above by Will Bradley, 1894, is a thoroughly modern, new world woman, in blue. Above 3 from the New York Public Library collection, see here
And of course commerce was a big deal in the new world. And posters were the major form of spreading the word about products–the humblest of household goods could warrant a nice poster, like the above for the “clean honest appetizing” soups from Franco American.
Or this for International Baking Powder, featuring a girl cat instead of a girl girl. Above 2 from here
But in the end, on both sides of the Atlantic, the show was the thing. Amazing Annie Oakley, peerless lady wing shot, was all American, but she traveled across the Atlantic with Buffalo Bill Cody’s troupe in 1887.
Perhaps she got a chance to see Miss Sarah Bernhardt in Paris performing Hamlet also 1887 . That would have been quite a conversation.
Thanks to the poster makers and their hostesses, we get a pretty good idea of what people wanted to see and do over 100 years ago. It’s like a fabulous scrapbook found under the bed.
Opera produces wonderful opportunities for the poster artist–there is drama, there is colour, there is EMOTION, and there is usually bloodshed. Above was done for Madama Butterfly in Vancouver May/June 2010, poster design by Cuban-born New Jersey-based Edel Rodriguez, image here
The 4 above are all for the Dutch National Opera, nice work you guys, here
We’ve mentioned the Poles and their gift for posters before. Above is by Polish designer Henryk Tomaszewski for the Manekiny Opera, 1985. Found here
This one goes back to the infancy of both opera and posters. It was for an Italian comic opera company, poster by Leopoldo Metlicovitz seen at the antique shop.
Rosabel Morrison was probably quite the hot item in her day (1896), with her tambourine and her tiny feet . Here
This was for Richard Strauss week at the Munich Opera 1910. Poster by Ludwig Hohlwein
Returning closer to our own time, David Hockney has done wonderful posters for opera, including the above for the Met in NY, from 1981 seen here
And this for the San Francisco Opera in 1982, seen here.
Here is Butterfly again. See her if you can. This poster for the Connecticut Grand Opera & Orchestra – Madama Butterfly. Seen here
We like this a lot, as fans of Opera, of Photography, and of Paris, yes we like this. Seen here.
Look for the posters for opera for the coming season near you. And if you have a chance, go. It is bigger than life in the best possible way.