3,250 artworks, 899 artists
Poster, placard (germ. Plakat, fr. placard — an ad, a poster; fr. plaquer — to stick) is a large-format printed publication temporarily placed in public places to convey information to a larger number of people about an event, product or idea. There are advertising, informational, campaigning, educational, and instructive posters.

The main task of a poster is to convey information to its addressee in a bright, attractive and maximally concise manner, to interest him/her. Graphic designs for this type of printed materials are created according to the certain principles. Posters should be clearly readable from a distance, the font should be large enough to convey the significant information, and the information should be extremely clear.

Ads on walls have been used by people since ancient times. In ancient Egypt, the first posters contained information about the search for escaped slaves; in Greece and Rome, they announced new theatrical performances and bargains. Some art historians say the poster was born in 1482, when the English bookseller Batdold used a print ad with a picture and text to advertise Euclid’s Geometry.

The next breakthrough in the technique of printing large-format ads came in the 1790s after the German actor and playwright Alois Senefelder invented lithography. The new printing method made posters cheaper. In contrast to the laborious engraving used earlier, artists could create a layout directly on a stone plate with their brushes and paints, from which they later made prints. In 1837, lithography gained full colour. This was achieved by using several plates with different colours.

By the end of the 19th century, colour lithographic printing technology had spread throughout Europe. The father of modern poster is Jules Chéret, a French artist and master of lithography. After training in London, he made the posters even brighter, even more contrast, and soon all famous cabarets, theatres and music halls became his customers. Chéret’s images of uninhibited and free women attracted the public. Young artists soon entered the poster industry, transforming ordinary ads into works of art not only fun to look at but also fun to collect.

The printing technique improved as chromolithography appeared, and the design principles were revised. Artists began to pay more attention to the fonts, which sometimes served as the main design element of a poster. With the advent of cinema, advertisements in this direction have become a separate type of poster art. Social cataclysms brought the propaganda poster to the fore, which became a powerful weapon of mass propaganda.

By the mid-1960s, interest in posters rose again, they described it as an intermediate between mutative fashion and mass hysteria. Postermania has made print ads a symbol of self-expression. Placards and posters began to be widely used for interior decoration. The demand caused the supply. Beautiful interior posters were created for a wide variety of consumer audiences: comics lovers, fans of sports teams, movie fans, music lovers, collectors, adherents of classical art. Gradually, the creation of a poster ceased to be a task for artists and moved into the sphere of interests of industrial design.

Famous poster artists:
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jules Chéret, Eugène Grasset, Théophile Steinlen, Adolphe Willette, Pierre Bonnard, Alfred Choubrac, Georges de Feure, Alphonse Mucha, Alexander Deineka, John Hartfield, Pablo Picasso, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Dmitry Orlov, Victor Denis, Alexandr Rodchenko, Gustav Klutsis, Viktor Koretsky.

Famous posters:
Poster for Offenbach’s operetta Orpheus in Hell by Jules Chéret, 1858
“La Belle Jardiniere” (“Beautiful Garden”) calendar by Eugène Grasset, 1896
The poster for the Gismonda play with Sarah Bernhardt by Alphonse Mucha, 1894
Le Chat Noir Cabaret by Théophile-Alexander Steinlen, 1896
The Motherland Calls!” by Irakli Toidze, 1941
Rosie the Riveter” by Norman Rockwell, 1943
“We Can Do It!” by J. Howard Miller, 1943