The golden era of the illustrated press
In today’s world of instant snapshots, 24-hour news, and round-the-clock connectivity, an illustrated press where the images are as important as the text has become an increasingly rare art form. This far-reaching compendium celebrates the golden age of graphic journalism as a distinct and unique genre and a laboratory for developing avant-garde aesthetics.
Spanning from 1819 to 1921, the collection covers a broad range of news graphics and political and satirical cartoons. Alongside the works of renowned artists such as Jean Cocteau, Juan Gris, and Käthe Kollwitz, the most famous illustrators of the time are also well represented. Thomas Nast, Honoré Daumier, Gustave Doré, and the numerous relatively unknown press graphic artists, the so-called “special artists,” whose work is rediscovered here.
Their rich and varied press work is considered not only in connection to the genre and the historical painting of the 19th century but also in its capacity as a pioneering influence on modern art. With striking examples of proto-cinematic narrative thinking, disruptions of the single image space, and daring forays into abstraction, this material is shown to have laid the groundwork for much of the avant-garde artistic expression that followed.
The book also explores Vincent Van Gogh’s careful attention to the illustrated press of his time. He was inspired not only by the artistic aspect of it but also by the spirit of social reform that it represented. An avid collector, he owned a large number of press graphics and went so far as to consider it a “Bible for Artists”.