Early posters were made using wood type & wood cuts with no colour.  Although lithography was invented in 1798, it wasn’t used until later when they were able to use three lithograph blocks, each being printed in a different colour, and superimposed onto each other. By the late nineteenth century, especially in France, the art of the poster had blossomed. Major contemporary artists were used to design posters to advertise events & goods. By World War One & the onset of the Russian Revolution, posters became an effective propaganda tool.

After the First World War, poster artists were becoming famous in their own right, rather than artists designing posters, poster designers were sought after. The use of the poster broadened into selling & advertising brands. The use of a poster to advertise an artist exhibition or show was now being used but due to the costs involved in colour printing, most artists used text & designs in black & white or in monochrome.

However, in Paris in the 1930s, Fernand Mourlot, the grandson of the founder of Mourlot studios, began inviting a new generation of artists to work directly on lithography stones.

Like Mourlot, Maeght also published artist’s prints and their posters using colour lithography. Maeght started his career as a printer & lithographer in Cannes but in 1936 made his print shop into an Art Gallery, later moving to Paris after the Second World War.

The importance of the Curwen Press in England should not be overlooked. Harold Curwen took over the business in 1914 and began to specialise in well-designed work. After 1920, Oliver Simon extended Curwen’s reputation for good typography and design to book-work. The Press employed many important artists and designers, most notable among whom were Claud Lovat Fraser, Barnett Freedman, Edward Bawden, Albert Rutherston, and Edward Ardizzone. The School Print Series which were issued during & after the Second World War were posters designed by British artists particularly aimed for the school market.. Throughout the 1930’s and the 1940’s the Curwen press was synonymous with lithographic printing, producing high quality prints & books. However,in 1958 due to the emergence of artists original prints, Timothy and Robert Simon (sons of Oliver and Herbert) set up the Curwen Studio for artists under the management of Stanley Jones, where they developed prints with exciting new qualities. There followed a period when artists including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Graham Sutherland, Elisabeth Frink, Alan Davie, Josef Herman and John Piper produced many important limited edition, hand signed lithographs. Paula Rego still uses the Curwen Press for her editions today.

We have a range of artist posters by Twentieth century artists including Picasso, Paolozzi, Hockney etc. Some posters are printed in lithography by Mourlot, Maeght and the Curwen Press, some are signed by the artist.

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All Art

Jasper Johns 1970’s Poster


I.C.A poster for Max Ernst, 1976