The Posters of Paris exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) goes beyond familiar Henri Toulouse-Lautrec paintings and posters to capture the visual excitement of Belle Époque Paris. It shines the spotlight on the posters of Jules Chéret, Eugène Grasset, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Alphonse Mucha and other artists who turned the streets of Paris into "a museum of pictures, an open-air exhibition" with new posters pasted daily on Morris columns.
The Posters of Jules Chéret shows why his colorful posters with cheerful "Chérettes" made him the "father of the poster" and "poster king." He changed the poster from crass advertising to street art. While Chéret's posters were populated by beautiful, but generic-looking people, Toulouse-Lautrec's posters had recognizable individuals, often Montmartre music hall stars, that accentuated their personality traits. Once-famous entertainers Jane Avril, Aristide Bruant, Yvette Guilbert and La Goulue are remembered today, because of his posters.
Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre was the 2005 Art Institute of Chicago's exhibit, companion book and DVD focusing on the painter mythologized in the classic 1952 movie, Moulin Rouge. While covering much of the same ground as MAM's exhibit (both exhibits were curated by former MAM curator Mary Weaver Chapin), the Art Institute exhibit shows the private world of the bohemian Parisian neighborhood of Montmartre and its celebrities as painted by Lautrec on canvass and poster.
Van Lingle Mungo @ Central