French Printmaker , 1836 - 1932 Paris
was a French painter and lithographer who became a master of poster art. Often called the father of the modern poster. Born in Paris to a poor but creative family of artisans, a lack of finances meant Jules Cheret had a very limited education. At age thirteen, he began a three-year apprenticeship with a lithographer and then his interest in painting led him to take an art course at the Ecole Nationale de Dessin. Like most other fledgling artists, Cheret studied the techniques of various artists, past and present, by visiting Paris museums. He was trained in lithography in London, England, from 1859 and 1866, and there he was strongly influenced by the British approach to poster design and printing. On returning to France, influenced by the scenes of frivolity depicted in the works of Jean-Honore Fragonard and other Rococo artists such as Antoine Watteau, Cheret created vivid poster ads for the cabarets, music halls, and theaters such as the Eldorado, the Olympia, the Folies Berg??res, Theatre de l'Opera, the Alcazar d'Ete and the Moulin Rouge. So much in demand was he, that he expanded his business to providing advertisements for the plays of touring troupes, municipal festivals, and then for beverages and liquors, perfumes, soaps, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Eventually he became a major advertising force, adding the railroad companies and a number of manufacturing businesses to his client list. As his work became more popular and his large posters displaying modestly free-spirited females found a larger audience, pundits began calling him the "father of the women's liberation." Females had previously been depicted in art as prostitutes or puritans. The women of Cheret's posters, joyous, elegant and lively - 'Cherettes', as they were popularly called ?? were neither. It was freeing for the women of Paris, and lead to a noticeably more open atmosphere in Paris where women were able to engage in formerly taboo activities, such as wearing low-cut bodices and smoking in public.