The janus-faced modernity of Toulouse-Lautrec and Jules Chéret

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Late nineteenth-century French art is among the most often studied topics, yet posters, which were one of the most prominent phenomena in the visual culture of the 1890s, have remained on the margins of art history. This article proposes that by analyzing posters, one gains new insights into modernity. Focusing on Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) and Jules Chéret (1836-1932), it demonstrates that these artists represented opposing views of modernity and argues that these constituted divergent responses to industrialization, commodification, mass culture, and urban life - one exposed its melancholy, the other countered it with a dreamland of pleasures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-306
Number of pages31
JournalVisual Resources
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • Advertising
  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
  • Jules Chéret (1836-1932)
  • Melancholy
  • Modernism
  • Modernity
  • Pleasure
  • Posters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Museology


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