La Belle Epoque: Bicycle Posters

 

belle epoque posters ride vintage magzine

LA BELLE EPOQUE

The poster revolution of the late 19th century transformed the city of Paris, created an obsession with colour lithography among leading artists and shaped the future of printmaking, poster design and advertising. More than a century later we are still captivated by these images.

The years between 1871 and 1914 represent one of the most fascinating periods in European history. it was an era characterized by optimism, peace at home and in Europe, new technology and scientific discoveries. The peace and prosperity in Paris allowed the arts to flourish, and many masterpieces of literature, music, theater, and visual art gained recognition. A joy of life awoke in all social classes, and with that a desire for new, extraordinary, sensational things. People were seized by the feeling of a new start into better times and a sense of freedom and happiness prevailed.

History’s greatest transformation of art and poetry from traditional to modern occurred during the Belle Epoque. Art in every genre prospered like never before. In Paris, a recognizable artistic style emerged in numerous forms, most notably in posters advertising goods and entertainment. Food, beverages, bicycles, and theatrical performances were just some of the subjects of these now famous Parisian works. The cycle industry contracted to as well as benefitted from this Golden Age. With a boom in cycle sales, funds became available for advertising. In America and Great Britain, most of this revenue was channelled toward magazine adverts, while in France glorious – and somewhat racy – posters emerged.

Artists of the 1890s noted for designing bicycle posters include Henri Boulanger (pseudonym Henri Gray), Jean de Palealogue (known as ‘PAL’), Georges Massias, Franciso Tamango, Georges Favre and Fernand Fernel.

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

JEAN DE PALEALOGUE (PAL): 1899 LIBERATOR

cycles liberator poster copy

Jean de Paleologu (or Paleologue), born in 1855 in Bucharest, Romania, was a painter and illustrator who became one of the best-known poster artists, using the pseudonym ‘PAL.’ He trained in England, returned to Romania to attend a military academy, and then visited London several times before relocating to Paris. He worked there until 1900, when he moved to America. He died in Florida in 1942.

1899 LIBERATOR 05

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1899 LIBERATOR

PLEASE CLICK HERE

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

FERNAND FERNEL: 1900 GEORGES RICHARD

1900_Georges_Richard_88-copy

Fernel was born in Brussels, Belgium, around 1872. He made his name not only as an painter but also as a poster artist, humorist and illustrator of children’s books, including Mes Joilies Poupes in 1900. He died in 1934.

1900-Georges-Richard-03

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1900 GEORGES RICHARD

PLEASE CLICK HERE

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

GASTON NOURY: 1898 GLADIATOR

GLADIATOR_Gaston_Noury

Gaston Noury (born in 1866) was a French painter, poster artist, illustrator, cartoonist and theatrical costume designer, working in Le Havre and Paris, where he settled around 1889. His prolific output covered a wide variety of subjects and his images were used for posters, books, postcards, songbooks, genre scenes and fashion plates. He provided illustrations for magazines such as La Chronique parisienneSaint-NicolasGil Blas illustréJournal amusant (1889-1890), and Les Hommes d’aujourd’hui

Around 1910, Noury designed costumes for the Moulin Rouge and Ambassadeurs in the Montmartre district. The costumes are both childishly innocent and provocative – floral designs and fabrics with seductive cutouts showing legs, midriff, cleavage and sometimes bare breasts. The drawings combine pencil and watercolour washes, portraying young women with stylised faces and delicate hands and feet.

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1898 GLADIATOR

PLEASE CLICK HERE

1895_Hurtu_04

HENRI BOULANGER (HENRI GRAY): 1895 HURTU

Henri Gray was a pseudonym of Henri Boulanger, born in 1858 in France. (He died in 1924). He used the pseudonym of H. Gray to sign his poster designs. For more racy subject matter, he signed his work with the pseudonym of Orivois (meaning spicy). He began his career designing magazine illustrations and covers. He turned to designing posters during the ‘poster craze’ in Paris during the 1890s. He is particularly known for his bicycle posters. Boulanger was one of the most prolific of the poster designers; he also created satirical caricatures. Hurtu was one of his regular employers.

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1895 HURTU SAFETY BICYCLE

PLEASE CLICK HERE

brillant_cycles

HENRI BOULANGER (HENRI GRAY): 1903 BRILLANT

cycles-brillant-5

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1903 BRILLANT

PLEASE CLICK HERE

The famous poster below was designed for Cycles Brillant by Adolphe Mouron Cassandre in 1923. A fusion of cubism and surrealism, an original lithograph from 1925 sold at Christie’s in November 2010 for £23,750. These days, Brillant posters are better known than the bicycles!

 

HENRI BOULANGER (HENRI GRAY): 1899 BICYCLETTE PHEBUS

 

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1899 BICYCLETTE PHEBUS

PLEASE CLICK HERE

clement_cie_31

JEAN DE PALEALOGUE (PAL): 1897 CLEMENT & CIE

 

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1897 CLEMENT & CIE

PLEASE CLICK HERE

 

1904-Le-Globe-Modele-Extra-Luxe-01

1904 LE GLOBE

CYCLES LE GLOBE RIDE VINTAGE MAGAZINE

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1904 LE GLOBE

PLEASE CLICK HERE

GEORGES MASSIAS: 1895 GLADIATOR

Cycles_gladiator

The Massias Gladiator poster above is one of the most famous of the early designs, setting a style of naked women with flowing hair alongside gent’s bicycles.

Cycles_Gladiator_01

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1895 GLADIATOR

PLEASE CLICK HERE

 RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

1900 RALEIGH X FRAME

ra;eigh x frame poster

1900_Raleigh_Xframe_02

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1900 RALEIGH X FRAME

PLEASE CLICK HERE