Cheret, Jules (1836-1932) by Scholes, Robert

Jules Cheret (1836 – 1932) The second half of the nineteenth century was the great age of the poster in France, and Jules Cheret had a lot to do with that. He was born in Paris into a large family of craftsmen and typographers. In 1849, at the age of only 13, he began drawing lettering for a lithographer. As he matured, he took a job in an engraver’s shop, taking drawing courses in the evening to further hone his skills. He then studied drawing at the National School of Decorative Arts with Lecoq de Boisbaudran. In 1854, Cheret had his first stay in London where he discovered the paintings of in the Victoria and Albert Museum. While there he worked on posters and illustrated a furniture catalogue. He also travelled to Italy. In the course of his travels, he conceived a method of using the lithographic process to produce large posters inexpensively. An artist and technician, Cheret brought color lithography to the highest levels of perfection by demonstrating how all the hues of the rainbow could be achieved with three or four colors. He opened his own printing shop in Paris in 1867 and grew rich as well as famous, producing more than a thousand posters in a style that has connections to the rococo of but turns gradually into art nouveau. He was a leader in establishing the poster as a form of art. Turner Watteau

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