Literary Poster Advertising: A Door Into the Imagination

“Literary posters are some of the most beautiful and sought-after in the world,” says Angelina Lippert, the chief curator of the New York Poster House. “Particularly in America, posters advertising books or literary magazines were a high point in early graphic design history, as they allowed artists like Edward Penfield or Will Bradley to create images that invited you to imagine. Rarely are they too literal, but rather these graphics act as windows into a world you will help paint in your mind with the assistance of a book. Many times, as in the case of Aubrey Beardsley‘s various book posters, the images have nothing to do with the actual stories, but are merely a jumping off point of bringing you as a reader into the scene.”

The pervasive impact of advertising has always been felt, influencing public opinion on everything from air travel to cigarettes, to film stars and the war effort – even the idea of drinking milk. Books benefited too, of course, and this month there is a fascinating glimpse into the colorful history of literary poster advertising.

On Monday, March 15th, Lippert will join Nicholas Lowry, poster expert at Swann Galleries, to discuss the centuries-old advertising history of books.

This virtual live event, “Writ Large: How Posters Sold Books Through the Ages,” is free but registration is required.


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