This exhibition highlights the role played by caricaturists during the years of crisis of the French poster from 1900 to 1918. This little-known period intervened between the poster’s “golden age” from 1880 à 1900 and its postwar renaissance led by Cubist-inspired poster artists. The poster’s prestige as an art form waned at the end of the 19th century with the disappearance of its great masters: Alphonse Mucha returned to Czechoslovakia, Jules Chéret turned to interior decoration and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec died in 1901. They were succeeded by caricaturists turned poster artists, the most representative of these being Léonetto Cappiello.
The evident kinship between the art of caricature and that of the poster achieved its finest expression in the early 20th century with the creations of Jossot, Sem, Barrère, Guillaume, Gus Bofa and Roubille. The “Poster Artists and Caricaturists” exhibition, comprised solely of works from the museum’s collection, retraces this period of poster history, showing its close links with the press and the political and economic contexts conducive to the development of new functions and esthetics.