Poster for the Paris 1925 Exhibition
1925 by Robert Bonfils
Victoria & Albert Museum
Twentieth-century posters are usually bold, poignant and inviting. Of course this is partly due to their purpose – they are designed to entice many – but those from the early 1900s seem to possess something more. Fuelled by the Art Deco movement, which embraced all kinds of design, poster art came into its own and their images remain as evocative illustrations of the true spirit of an age. The poster for the Paris 1925 Exhibition is a triumphant example; advertising an entire exhibition of decorative arts, it was designed to flaunt the movement its design so beautifully demonstrates. The boarder is simple, black curves lined with doubly accented red, liltingly stylised and effective. The lettering is distinctive, the bottom script interspersed with angles of lines that echo those that backdrop the central image. The poster is printed from a woodcut, allowing the emphasis of block-like colour – all detail and shading articulated through distinctive lines, each angled carefully to unite composition. The arch of the fanning grasses is replayed through the curved movement of the figure who, pulled round with her lifted arm and dashing legs, appears almost eclipsed within a circle. The wealth of design is symbolised in the overflowing of her basket of flowers, which erupts to the same arching curve, centred by the abundance and beauty of a giant rose.