Tuesday, January 5, 2010


 The 100-year-old poster Princezna Hyacinta by Alphonse Mucha is one of the most revered pieces of classic advertising posters The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire will display in its new gallery starting on its opening day, Jan. 21.

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire is opening its own 1,500 square art gallery, one of the largest in San Bernardino, and the first in the Hospitality Lane area. It will open with an exhibition of rarely-seen advertising posters from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including works by Jules Chéret and Alphonse Mucha.

The show, The Golden Age of Poster Design, runs Jan. 21 through Feb. 5, 2010. An opening reception takes place 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21.

 “We are pleased to bring to the Inland Empire this glimpse of life from that era, as immortalized by the leading designers and illustrators of the time,” said Jonathan DeAscentis, Dean of Academic Affairs for The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. “Many of these posters are on loan from Gary Gibson, owner of The Vintage Poster Gallery of Laguna Beach, others from private collections.”

 “We are really privileged to have this exhibit” said Ronald Lana, MFA, Director of the new gallery. “These artists were the original masters of graphic design and advertising.”

The posters range primarily from the 1890s to the 1930s. The featured posters include:
•    Pippermint Get Frere, Jules Chéret, 1899
•    Princezna Hyacinta, Alphonse Mucha, 1910
•    La Mason du Porte-Plume, Jean D’Ylen, 1928
•    Vermouth Martini, Leonetto Cappiello, 1912
•    Meton, Roger Broders, 1923
•    Brittania Day, James Montgomery Flagg, 1918
•    Scribner’s, Charles Dana Gibson, 1897

The posters are lithographs, a style of printing still used today to create original works of art. Today, an artist can create the work on a computer, then send it electronically to a printing press.

“Many of the posters to be exhibited are stone lithographs,” Lana explained. “An artist draws directly on the stone with grease pencils. After a process, the stone is covered with ink, which is then pressed onto paper. They could only print a few posters at a time from each stone.”

In late 19th century Europe, poster art began when booksellers displayed small lithograph posters in their store windows to attract attention to various literary works. These works of art then progressed into large format advertising posters.

“Poster art was different from the art that people were familiar with then,” Lana said. “Before this type of art developed, people went to galleries and appreciated the original art solely for its beauty. The poster was intended from the very beginning for functional use, in other words, for the street.”

Among the early masters of poster art were Paris artists Jules Cheret, who is considered “The Father of Poster Art,” and Alphonse Mucha, the orignator of the style “Art Nouveau.”

Cheret’s posters promoted operas, cabarets, circuses and a kerosene distributor whose fuel lit the gas lamps of Paris, toys and many other items sold by merchants of his day.

Alphonse Mucha was a Czech illustrator and designer who advertised many products, including theaters and cabarets. He created the most well-known poster for actress Sara Bernhardt, who became one of the most famous actresses of her time.

In the 20th century, and in the past decade, graphic design and other forms of commercial art have become essential to our lives. Most people see many forms of commercial art on a daily basis, from newspapers and magazines, billboards, t-shirts and other clothing, to television, websites, video games and movies.

The Art Institutes (a system of more than 45 colleges, including The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire) dedicates its programs to forms of commercial art.

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire offers Bachelor of Science degree programs in Game Art & Design, Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media, Interior Design, Fashion & Retail Management, Culinary Management and Media Arts & Animation. It offers Associate of Science degree programs in Graphic Design, Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in Fashion Design.

Each program is offered on a year-round basis, allowing students to work uninterrupted toward their degrees.

It’s not too late to start at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. Courses begin January 11 and classes are offered in the day, evening and on weekends for new and reentry students.

For more information or a tour of The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire call (909) 915-2100 or go on line to artinstitutes.edu/inlandempire.

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire is one of The Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu), a system of over 45 education institutions located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.