Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1770-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA
Newspaper Page Text
-"* -SaiLJSiaiicis£Q_ißiinaay. Call
Hanna Astrup Larsen WE are used to thinking of the poster as an outgrowth of our American aggressiveness. The poster is a thing that takes hold of yoa trith brutal force; some times It actually seems to pummel you and knock you about with a violence almost fistic; sometimes it entrances ,you with a beauty more vivid and clean rut than that found in more finished • forms of art; sometimes it disgusts you \u25a0with Its ugliness; sometimes it merely •hits you with the Inescapable quality of fits lettering, but always arrests your attention— that is. if it is a real poster. This directness of purpose which •doe* not shrink from any means to overcome lethargy or prejudice in the should be a peculiarly American \u25a0quality, yet it Is a fact that the pos ;ter originated ia Europe and has reached Its highest development there. Better artists are employed In the ex ecution of the advertising poster, and there are many posters which are not for advertising but for purely decora tive purposes. The Involved symbol ism employed is a quality that most distinguishes the European from the American poster and would seem to in dicate that the European artist has confidence in his ability not only to catch his publlo but to keep It caught Tir.tll he has told all he has to say. The sls« and ugliness of the poster are regulated by law in some coun tries of Europe, but this clipping of the more flamboyant growth has re sulted In a finer development of the poster art within the prescribed limits. It is claimed by some that the poster had Its origin among the ancients. The nomaa actors knew the value of ad vertising, and large showy notice boards were employed by them. These were called "albums." The oldest thing In existence that can by any stretch of the term bs called a poster is said to bs a papyrus of ths year 149 B. C. calling for the return of two fugitive slaves. It Is cow In the Louvre. There is another from the reign of Herod the Great, which wu evidently posted In the outer court of the temple la Jerusa lem, forbidding visitors to enter the Inner court of the sacred structure. It night be said, however, that the strong outlines and flat colors of the Egyptian Trail paintings with a simple way of telling their story have much of the elements that go to make up the suc cessful modern poster. The Greek vas« paintings, too. copy In a small form the two color scheme that is used noir with so much effect. Originated in France It was reserved for the French peo ple with their unerrinr Instinct for form and color to originate the thing we now call a poster. Picturesque, fantastic, sometimes bizarre, though not beyond the bounds of beauty, it first flared into life on the boulevards of Paris In the sixties. Earlier at tempts had been in the way of an nouncements and had not made any pretense of & decorative effect. When the time was ripe, through the perfec tion of modern mechanical appliances end the demands of modern advertising, the best artists of Europe saw in the poster a field for their finest work. Cheret was the first Frenchman who grasped its possibilities and mads it I thing of beauty. Then came Josset aad Stelnlen. England, America, Ger many and the Scandinavian countries took up the new fad. The Germans went at It with their csual thorough ness and their artists have produced some of the finest posters la exist ence They "2*7 not. hs?re -the verve of the French nor. the flaunting beauty that reminds one of showy flowers like Se sunflowers or the hollyhock. , but in their conscientious thoroughness and the solidity of thslr artistic merit they „« essentially Teuton. One of the most Interesting eollec «»««\u25a0 at European posters ever seen. herVu that fathered by F/ H. Meyer and Perham Nahl on their travels fn Germany «« France, and now on S±ib!SoTln» ths school of the. Guild SatS end Crafts in California. .. A tlwetih* most characteristic examples .xT in The Sunday Call to day on c - Pa«e «« «*• >*<* W *f have b.sn ' wtelta Vmaoymr Stetalea to make a , s£»? that should oonvey to all be bSSrs the rerr twrte of the met milk sipped by the little maid in the picture and envied by three wistful kit tens. The freshness and purity of the vision created by the artist inevitably suggest green fields and milk frothing white and warm, fresh from the udder of a sleek cow standing knee deep in clover. The advertiser of preserved foods, whether sterilized milk, canned fruits, tinned butter or potted meat, has made good when he has effectually con nected the artificial product with the natural food article in his customer's imagination. No one who looks at the little girl in the picture and' at her dumb companions with, their speaking looks will think of the fact that the milk Ehe is sipping- from her pretty little dish Is In the words of a little maid of South Africa — the country of many cattle and little milk— "from the condensed cow." The means which Stelnlen has em ployed to reach the end are so simple that no one but an artist of the first caliber could have handled them suc cessfully. To makouhe enormous flat red surface of the child's dress Instinct with life and to give that ' charm to every one of the broad black lines that bound the surface took- a first class draftsman. The red is repeated' In the bright color on the girl's lips and touches over so lightly her. cheeks and ears; it brightens the surface of the dish and warms tho yellow in the cat's fur. Next In strength Is the yellow of the child's hair and the cat's fur.; Softening the brilliance of the other two colors and saving the general ef fect from garlshness is. the warm brown vlgneting of the figure by the touches In the chair and the child's dress. Lastly thero is the black in the outlines, the child's belt and the fur of one cat like a strong! note controlling the exuberance of the rest and pinning It down to definite shape. Tho local atmosphere Is preserved In the. quality of the dish, which is of a characteristic French ware. The sterilized milk poster, in spite of the simplicity of Its effect, is really quite elaborate, as it is printed In four colors. Some of the most effective posters have but two. \u25a0»' Who but a genius*' with a severe practical training could have produced such a poster as that reproduced . In. The Sunday Call today from an adver tisement of Alexander Koch's publish ing house in Darmstadt? In spite of patriotism we are forced to admit it shows a higher .grade of work than Is seen outside of the good picture galleries In this country, a finer- art than that usually lavished on "the poor man's picture gallery." as the billboards have been called. The subject is "Life Guiding Art." The plastic, unformed body of the child stands out against a dark background. The eagerness in the «yes and parted lips Is carried out in the tenseness of the outstretched, arm emphasized by the straight shadows in the arm apd under the collar bones. Delighted at his -success, half afraid of It. he reaches out to limn the tracery on the wall. The mother's face over his shoulder is tense with interest, the light touch of her hand impelling yet not interfering; . her arms are ready to receive hltn when he flutters back from the flight into the unaccustomed. The shadows of her hair and dress bring out the tender lines of the flesh forms against the dark mass. So far •it is just a picture and an extremely inter esting and beautiful picture. The decorative effect of the - manner '\u25a0 in which the child's figure is placed and tho tracery of red lines f ollowing the lines of the arm and the carves of the slender form make It a poster. The name of the firm is placed unobtrusive ly In a corner, but the individuality of the picture Is such that It Is not for gotten when once beheld with a seeing eye. The delicacy and seriousness of the ; composition I are such as make . It peculiarly fitting for the advertise ment of a business that is supposed to concern Itself with the education of the public Another commercial ; poster Is that of the united paper factories* of.Dres den advertising the Schwerter photog rapher's paper. The name of the paper Is announced .by the gold glittering sword held in the hand : of ;, the - figure and is carried out in the crossed swords on both sides of the lettering. The figure : of the young ; man is of a kind to compel attention and Is of » a mar tial quality befitting the. paper with the martial name. . Art exhibitions have offered a .good field, for the serious porter art of Get THE WONDERFUL POSTERS OF THE FRENCH AND GERMAN ARTISTS many. That Issued for the industrial art exhibit In Nurnberg last year is a particularly interesting example of the symbolism which . Is so characteristic of German potters. : Three men stand ing on the walls of . the old town of Numbers hold aloft three banners, one bearing:- the wheel device symbolizing; Industry, one bearing: the three shields with the three primary colors expres sive of the crafts and one with ham mer and tongs of the laborer. Thus the threefold nature of the exhibit was brought out. The men are evidently prominent pillars of society, with strong; hopeful Teuton faces and the portly figures of prominent burghers. The placing: of these men in modern frock boats on the medieval walls of the city is to signify that all modern enterprise rests securely upon the foundation laid by the fathers, a senti ment, by the way, which would hardly have occurred to an American artist, even assuming that the language of symbolism appealed to the American nature, which it does not. The coloring of this poster Is very striking, the sky being a deep blue, the walls yellowish brown and the figures of tho men brought out In a strong contrast of black and white. The announcement of the exhibition of the art society of Munich, Including an exhibition of Bavarian art from the early half of the nineteenth century, Is a beautiful thing. The dignified classlo figure of history, with the star over her head. Is In strong contrast in Its young maturity \u25a0- with the sweet child ishness of the little figure symbolizing the city of Munich leaning up against her. This poster is . executed entirely in brown tone*. ,; The expensive i posters of the kind included In the collection at the school of. the -California Guild \u25a0of Arts and Crafts mx» Issued In limited numbers, Meyer and Nahl often bad , great diffi culty In securing them, for the people know their value and are quick to selz* on •very one that "is printed. . The waiters and janitors in buildings where good posters are displayed are, wise in their day and generation and frequent ly preserve them with a view, to selling them to collectors. ,' Meyer secured a number by going directly to the fac tory where they were issued and stat ing that the collection was for school purposes. * .-\u25a0\u25a0 \u25a0 \u25a0/ \u25a0 >. : •;; \v". \u25a0• >..\u25a0\u25a0 The old German posters were seme times printed In as many tas six or asven or •\u25a0 even - IS , colors. , Modern poster . art : has : progressed more . and more [ toward ' simplicity, ;. and three or four colors ' are now .the usual number. This is not ; only for the' sake of econ omy, because every additional color, re quires -" anothtr printing and . therefor Increases ' the * price of production, . but because the clearer. , perception :, of the peculiar characteristics of this form of art ; has taught : the ; artist the value of simplicity. -, The \u25a0 poster 4 artist , must see his work \u25a0in • masses i of color. He I cannot I simply . draw , an | outline pic tare and then- fill in^the^ spaces with color as an afterthought, V.3 : must make • them a part of the composition as It - forms Itself in his mind- Tbsj more he can eliminate details the bst 'ter,:wlir.be;the effect. ;,;;: v - In France . the slse of posters Is lim ited by s> law ;of 1781 regulating '\u25a0 ths size of 1 billboards. % which y- Is >; still -A la force. Posters 1 and • announcements are subject to V tax.andi temporary an nouncements or posters must have the stamp 0$ the » government.' There is a rigid .system $of inspection, and the glaring ugliness that screams from* the billboards tot] ouri cities | would | not b a allowed In France. ' On ths \u25a0' other hand the department stores rest * spaces for permanent posters ; in < the Metropolitan J subway i and it they vie \ with"? eaoh other ; In c ths ' beauty* of i their ; adv«rt!t«atats.