During the 1890s, called the “Belle Epoque” in France, a poster craze came into full bloom. In 1891, Toulouse-Lautrec’s first poster, Moulin Rouge, elevated the status of the poster to fine art. French poster exhibitions, magazines and dealers proliferated, satisfying the public’s love affair with the poster.

In 1894, Alphonse Mucha, a Czech working in Paris, created the first masterpiece of Art Nouveau poster design. This flowery, ornate style was born practically overnight when Mucha was pressed to produce a poster for Sarah Bernhardt, the brilliant actress who had taken Paris by storm. Bearing multiple influeences including the Pre-Raphaelites, the Arts and Crafts Movement, and Byzantine art, this style was to dominate the Parisian Scene for the next ten years and to become the major international decorative art movement up until World War I.

 

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