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Color separation proof in green
Support: Cream (3) wove paper
Sheet: 38 x 28.1 cm (14 15/16 x 11 1/16 in.); Image: 29 x 18.6 cm (11 7/16 x 7 5/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1998.42.8
Catalogue raisonné: Southard 27
The last decades of the 19th century were the golden era of French color lithography. Jules Cheret (1836-1932) popularized the technique to make colorful posters which, by 1884, were also exhibited as a legitimate art form. In 1891 Cheret began to design posters without lettering to frame and hang on walls---still an unusual idea since prints were usually stored in portfolios. The explosion in color lithography was also encouraged by the use of zinc plates, which were lighter, cheaper, and more pliable than traditional lithographic stones. Also important was the formation of artist's organizations like the Société des artistes lithographie (Society of Lithographic Artists) and the Société de l'estampe originale (Society of Original Prints), which stimulated original printmaking. By the 1890s a proliferation of fine printers, independent exhibitions, publications devoted to prints, critics, publishers, and dealers like Sagot, all supported color lithography.
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