by: Jules Cheret (1836-1932)
“Les Visages” Original Pastel in Canvas. 28” x 10” (71 cm x 25 cm) Signed, lower right. Custom made wood frame with gold leaf.
(French, 1836–1932) was a renowned painter and lithographer. Chéret was born in Paris, France, and his family was considered poor, though most of the family members had artistic leanings. At the age of 13, the artist left school and became an apprentice to a lithographer for three years. Chéret became increasingly interested in painting, and enrolled at the École Nationale de Dessin to study art. Chéret went to London to study photography from 1859 to 1866, and was greatly influenced by British Art, especially printing and poster design.
When Chéret returned to France, he took up poster printing and made posters for different theaters, including Eldorado, the Moulin Rouge, and the Olympia. Apart from the British poster printers, Chéret was also influenced by Rococo artists, such as Antoine Watteau. The demand for Chéret’s work grew, and he started working for different outfits, such as municipal festivals, beverage companies, and even pharmaceutical companies, producing different graphic advertisements. Chéret was given the tag Father of the Women’s Liberation when he began producing huge paintings of free-spirited females, widely known as Chérettes, which were very much in contrast to the then-prevailing norm of depicting females as puritans or prostitutes. Examples of Chéret’s paintings include L’Arc en Ciel(1893), Grand Bal Masqué (1896), and Musée Grevin, Théâtre les Fantoches(1900).
Chéret was instrumental in the emergence of printers and poster designers in the late 1890s. He created the Maîtres de l’Affiche collection in 1895. This was a collection of reproductions from 97 Parisian artists, and the work inspired different artists, including Charles Gesmar. Chéret retired to Nice, France, when he was an old man. The French government awarded him the Légion d’honneur in 1890. Chéret exhibited his work in different institutions, including the Louvre and the Salon, both in Paris, France. Chéret’s works are found in various institutions around the world, including the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; the Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. Chéret died in Nice.