In the early 1990s the town of Chaumont (S.E. of Paris) decided to use the dormant agricultural silos of the Haute-Marne region of France as a shelter for old books and posters from a former library. In 1994 La maison du Livre et de l’Affiche (The House of the Book and the Poster) opened its doors.
The core of their collection consists of some 5000 Fin de Siècle posters which were assembled by the town Mayor in the late 19th century. The Silo is considered an international centre with respect to theatre, dance and opera graphic arts.
3000 of these posters are available online via la médiathèque site of the Silo ('affiches anciennes'). It is a 'servlet' arrangement so it will time out if you don't keep looking around and you can't open multiple tabs/windows. I found clicking on the titles beneath the image and then the 'TIF' image link at the bottom of the subsequent page the easiest way to get to the larger versions (which do open in a new tab/window).
Note there are metadata categories once you click through - meaning you can look at just circus or just theatre or eccentric etc posters. I've only seen the first 1000 posters and of those there were perhaps 3 that I was sure I had seen previously. I think the above selection is a fair representation - a lot of circus and theatre, with regular eccentric pictures, occasional sketches and rarely, there are things like art book images. Overall this is a fantastic site but many of the works are quite dark so all of the images above were tweaked at least a little bit. Click for full size versions and mouseover for titles.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Posted by peacay at 3:22 am