Eki Museum Kyoto
Matsuya Ginza 8F Gallery Tokyo
Matsuzakaya Museum Nagoya
The exhibition Life with Posters 1890–1920. Art Nouveau, jointly organized by the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague (UPM) and the Moravian Gallery in Brno (MG), opened on Saturday, February 27, 2010, at the Eki Museum in Kyoto, Japan. A total of 130 posters from France, Austria, England, Germany, Belgium, the United States and various other countries are on view at the exhibition. In the 1880s and 1890s, posters emerged as a relatively new communication and information medium, with a growing number of artists, first and foremost in France (particularly Paris) engaged in designing them. The posters’ increasing artistic quality eventually made them a collectible, sought after not only by individual collectors, but also art institutions.
A selection of posters in the UPM’s and MG’s collections constitutes the nucleus of both the exhibition and the accompanying publication in Japanese. The authors of the texts are Professor Senzoku, on the Japanese part, and Petr Štembera and Marta Sylvestrová, on the Czech part. The book is largely devoted to the history of Czech poster art, whereas the exhibition is perhaps the first presentation of nearly the entire poster collection of the Vienna Sezession art movement.
Also featured are the works by such eminent poster art figures as Jules Chéret, Eugène Grasset, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha and other Paris-based artists. The great names are interspersed with lesser-known poster designers and occasionally even anonymous authors. Some posters border on kitsch, but this is what posters were like at the time – democratically displayed next to each other in the streets were a few noteworthy works, together with many average prints and some truly disastrous affairs.