Today's newspaper industry might take its cues from these beautiful late nineteenth century newspaper posters. These artistic advertisements exude class and elegance--though some of the headlines may make you think of modern-day tabloids. Such arty posters could entice readers to pick up a newspaper or two. Um, maybe.
The posters are from the New York Public Library's digital collection. From the description:
The advent of the art poster in America is traceable to the publication of Edward Penfield's poster advertising the March 1893 issue of Harper's. Unlike earlier advertising posters, Penfield's work presented an implied graphic narrative to which text was secondary. In this way, and subsequently, in the hands of major artists such as Penfield, Will Bradley and Ethel Reed, the poster moved from the realm of commercial art to an elevated, artistic position.
As a genre, posters very rapidly became the objective of aggressive collectors. As early as 1895, posters began appearing in catalogs of exhibitions and collections. As collectors increasingly sought contemporary publishing posters as discrete objects, they became more desirable than the publication they were advertising. As a result, a shift developed in the industry toward well-designed, illustrated covers of magazines and dust jackets for books; at the same time, newspaper illustration advanced. By the end of the 1890s, the art poster had helped pave the way to a rapidly developing advertising industry that reverberates on Madison Avenue yet today.
(Click on a poster to take you back to the NYPL poster collection and to see larger sizes.)
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