Exhibitions | Exhibitions To the South

L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters at BYU MoA

Jules Chéret, Folies-Bergère/La Loïe Fuller Émilienne D’Alençon, 1893, color lithograph. Photograph by John Faier. © 2015 The Richard H. Driehaus Museum.

September 3, 2021 – February 19, 2022


The BYU Museum of Art is pleased to announce L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters, a colorful exhibition of lithographic posters and ephemera that will transport its viewers to 19th-century Paris.

Celebrating the inexhaustible energy of fin-de-siècle France, L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters features lithographic prints by the five grand masters of the medium: Jules Chéret, the father of the modern poster; Eugène Grasset, who explored feminine beauty in rich, medieval settings; Alphonse Mucha, known for depicting sensuous women and the whiplash curves of their tresses; Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, creator of some of the best-loved images of the era; and finally Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who pointed the way to modernism. These pioneering artists defined a never-before-seen and never forgotten art form: the color poster. L’Affichomania explores the achievements of these artists in concert with the poster’s role in French society, which includes its effect on the life of the Parisian street, the rise of advertising, the entertainment district of Montmartre, and the changing representations of women.

Bright, bold, and found everywhere along the boulevards of late nineteenth-century Paris, the color poster was a brilliant fusion of art and commerce. It advertised cigarette papers and milk, immortalized stage stars and bohemian cabarets, and won the adoration of passersby and art collectors alike. The color poster was heralded as a new art form as artists took hold of the commercial printing process known as chromolithography and adapted it to their creative needs. In their hands, the color lithograph became a thrilling new means of creating visual excitement in the form of posters; some called it a “color revolution.” As pedestrians encountered this lively new scenery posted on the Parisian boulevards, the pulse of modern life seemed to beat faster, inciting a desire to acquire the prints- by buying and selling special editions or by stealthily removing them from walls and kiosks. This sudden popularity of posters fueled a passion for collecting them, called affichomania.

The exhibition at the Museum of Art features brilliant displays, including a replica of a Parisian metro station entrance illuminated in the colors of the French flag at the entrance to the exhibition, and 28 audio guides on various artworks for children and adults, available exclusively on the BYU Museum of Art app (available for Apple and Android). A number of events, gallery talks, and activities will celebrate the exhibition, including an Art After Dark celebration on September 17 from 7-10 PM, where the MOA invites all to enjoy live music, free refreshments, gallery activities, and, of course, the posters in the exhibition.

“It is very exciting to have these bold and imaginative artworks here at the Museum of Art,” said Janalee Emmer, the Director of the Museum of Art. “Many of them are instantly recognizable —but seeing them in person allows you to appreciate their large scale and imagine how it felt to see them on the streets of Paris. This is an incredibly unique opportunity and we hope that our campus and local audiences don’t miss this exhibition.” The MOA’s Head Educator, Philipp Malzl, added “During this time of limited trans-Atlantic travel, we are thrilled to bring a bit of Paris to Provo. We invite everyone to take advantage of this rare opportunity to experience delightfully artistic advertisements that once dotted the French capitol.”

L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters was organized by The Richard H. Driehaus Museum and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC. It will be on display on the lower level of the Museum of Art from September 3, 2021 – February 19, 2022. Additional information is available at https://moa.byu.edu/laffichomania/.


One of the largest and best-attended university art museums in the Mountain West, the BYU Museum of Art offers a dynamic exhibition schedule that includes displays of its permanent collection, world-class traveling shows and thought-provoking exhibitions organized by museum curators. One of the museum’s most important roles is its contribution to the academic mission of Brigham Young University. From the research and study of the artworks in the permanent collection, to the teaching and learning that occurs in classrooms and galleries, the museum plays an important role in the academic pursuits of many students at BYU. Concurrently, the museum seeks to connect to broad community audiences through its exhibitions, educational programming, and online outreach.


Jeannine Falino is an independent curator and museum consultant. Formerly Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, she has created exhibitions and produced catalogues for many institutions. Recent exhibitions include Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design (Museum of Arts and Design, 2011-12), Gilded New York: Design, Fashion, & Society (Museum of the City of New York, 2013-17), New York Silver, Then & Now (Museum of the City of New York, 2017-18), and L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters (The Richard H. Driehaus Museum, Chicago, 2017-18).

A catalogue, L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters, by Jeannine Falino with essay by Richard H. Driehaus and photographs by John Faier, is available for purchase in the MOA Store.


The Richard H. Driehaus Museum explores the art, architecture, and design of the late 19thand early 20thcenturies with a focus on the Gilded Age. The Museum is located just steps from the Magnificent Mile within the meticulously restoredNickerson Mansion, renowned as Gilded Age Chicago’s “Marble Palace.” The exquisite building was saved twice, first by a collective of over100 Chicago citizensin 1919, and then by philanthropistRichard H. Driehaus, who sponsored itsrestoration from 2003 to 2008. The Museum features an outstanding collection of decorative arts—particularly Tiffany glass—as well as special exhibitions from other fine museums. The Driehaus Museum further illuminates the period through numerous educational and cultural programs.

International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC, is a nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally, through exhibitions, programs and services to artists, arts institutions and the public. Visit www.artsandartists.org

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