In this heavily illustrated work, Purvis (visual arts, Boston Univ.) presents an introductory overview of posters, starting with their popularity in late 19th-century France and moving through numerous countries, artistic styles, and events of the 20th century. The remainder of the book comprises color illustrations of more than 400 international posters dating from the 1880s to the 1980s that Le Coultre selected from his own personal collection. In the preface, Le Coultre discusses his main criterion for selection: to collect posters that "did their job best" in their own time. A short section illustrating Le Coultre's "personal choices" by theme (such as travel, film, and the Olympics) is followed by a longer section of illustrations in roughly chronological order. Some of the illustrations have short, informative annotations, but most have just basic descriptions. The index of almost 300 poster artists' names leads the reader to the illustrations but, unfortunately, not to any mention of the artists in Purvis's introductory text. This book would probably be most useful for art and design school libraries or larger public libraries that collect in the graphic arts. Anne Marie Lane, Univ. of Wyoming Lib., Laramie Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Bringing together over 400 colour reproductions, this volume represents a pictorial record of the development of poster art and graphic design during the years 1880 to 1980. In addition to their artistic merit, posters can be powerful expressions of by-gone eras that help narrate historical change. In the time before mass media, posters were a prime means of communication, protest and propaganda. A Century of Posters captures that historical phenomenon from its Art Nouveau roots, through La Belle Epoque to propagandist posters of World War I, the Russian Revolution of 1917, 1960s American poster art and Japanese design.