La Belle Époque, Pots and Prints

Join us for a rollicking rummage through the history of the poster, from Chéret’s ‘Maitres de l’Affiche’ to WWI propaganda and artists’ posters of the 20th century. Gallery manager Kate illuminates Patrick Caulfield’s ‘Laforgue’ screenprints, and we’re treated to behind the scenes footage of Jean-Nicolas Gérard’s provençal studio. You can view and buy the work featured by scrolling down this page or by visiting our shop >. Enjoy!

Maîtres de l’Affiche

Although many leading artists quickly recognised the attractions the poster medium offered for their work, it was one man who pioneered the movement. Jules Chéret (1836-1932) can quite rightly be called the father of the modern poster. Not only was Chéret a formidable commercial artist, his three-stone lithographic process meant that designers could see their work reproduced in vivid colour.

Chéret began the idea of Les Maîtres de l’Affiche (Masters of the Poster). Every month, from December 1895 to November 1900, subscribers received by post from Librairie Chaix four reduced, loose sheet reproductions of the artists’ posters. Not only were they far more manageable than the large original street posters, the images were superior in quality because of the refined lithographic process used.

Patrick Caulfield

Patrick Caulfield was born in 1936 in London. He was among the generation of artists who epitomised British Pop Art, though his work often has an introspective and melancholic mood quite unlike Pop Art’s more upbeat style. Since the 1960s he has produced pictures of interiors suggesting the banality of everyday existence.

Caulfield studied at Chelsea School of Art and then at the Royal College of Art, returning to the former to teach until 1971. His first solo exhibition was held in 1965 at the Robert Fraser Gallery, establishing his reputation, and he soon held major shows in the UK and abroad. Caulfield was elected R.A. in 1993, awarded the CBE in 1996 and received an Honorary Fellowship of the London Institute. He died in 2005.

Jean-Nicolas Gérard

Jean-Nicolas Gérard was born in Brazzaville (Congo) in 1954 and returned to France in 1961. He started studying ceramics in 1978 and was Jean Biagini’s student at École des Beaux-Arts in Aix-en-Provence. He also trained with Claire Bogino. Often labelled the potters’ potter Gerard’s work has a spontaneity that so many strive for.

Gérard’s work has now gained international acclaim and he has exhibited all over the world, including America, Australia, China and Japan. He is one of those rare potters who brings genuine life and gusto to contemporary slipware, investing the tradition of terre vernissée with a fresh and expressive energy unlike any other.

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