Harper's May {c.1896} | 11" x 14" Giclée Art Print

Designer: Edward Penfield

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  • 11x14" fine art print
  • 200gsm museum-grade fine art paper with a textured, matte finish
  • Giclée printed using water-based inks
  • Sustainably sourced paper from FSC approved forests
  • Shipped in a cellophane bag with a backing board for stability and safekeeping

About the Artist | Edward Penfield | from The Met: 

Regarded as one of the most influential poster artists in America, Edward Penfield joined the publishing house Harper and Brothers at the age of twenty-five as a staff artist and editor. Shortly after his promotion to artistic director, Penfield created his first lithograph for Harper’s Magazine in 1893. Following its runaway success, he made posters advertising each successive issue of the magazine for over seven years. Magazine readers and poster collectors celebrated his designs for their boldness, abstraction, and occasional comic touch. Penfield also created advertisements and cover designs for books published by Harper and Brothers.

As the most acclaimed artist working for Harper’s, Penfield was free to experiment with avant-garde styles. Less concerned with the dramatic curving lines of Art Nouveau than his contemporaries, Penfield synthesized a number of stylistic sources in his work, including Japanese ukiyo-e prints and posters made by contemporary French and British artists. Penfield’s work for Harper’s displays a late nineteenth-century American type—the wealthy and well-appointed middle-class individual enjoying leisure time. Penfield himself was part of this newly emerging middle class.

Although these 1896 issues of Harper’s feature intriguing articles and poems such as "Venezuela: The Paris of South America," "Wild Ducks and Tame Decoys," and "Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc," Penfield’s posters do not appear to relate to the content. The two lithographs instead show beautiful, sumptuously clothed women. One holds two color-coordinated felines in a blank space with no advertisement for the magazine except for the large title. The other woman more typically holds a copy of Harper’s in her left hand, though she does not read it. Dressed as if for the theater or a museum opening, she merely stares blankly out of the frame and does not engage with the three caricatural masks that hang on the wall above the orange plinth.

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