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The poster as art form

What poster artist from the 1920s would have dared to imagine that his work would end up on the walls of a museum? The Louwman Museum has a large collection of posters and other automobilia, produced by various prominent artists, depicting and promoting a wide variety of makes of car and related products.

The rise of the printed advertisement

Thanks to improvements in lithography, and chromo-lithography in particular, it became possible at the end of the 19th century to mass produce colour posters, using the primary colours green, red and blue. This gave advertisers access to the public at large.

The poster as collector’s item

The popularity of advertising posters rose dramatically following the poster announcing the stage play ‘Gismonda’ by the successful Czech artist Alphonse Mucha in 1895. Posters were torn off the walls and those pasting up the posters were even bribed in an attempt to get hold of one.

The start of automobile advertising

Manufacturers of this new invention, the automobile, as a symbol of modernity and progress were not to be left behind!  Nor did organizers of motor shows. The public at large was able to admire the various makes that they had previously only seen on posters.

An expression of lifestyle

In the early posters of car manufacturers, the posters seem to be selling a lifestyle more than the product itself. The ladies were just as gorgeous as the cars! However, some were of the opinion that a male figure would be more suitable for promoting the motor car.

A popular instrument

Practically all car manufacturers used posters for advertising because they were relatively cheap and fast to produce. Mass production printing meant they could reach practically all potential customers. Poster have always been well received and are still popular today.

Book your tickets for the Louwman Museum

Plan your visit to the automobile museum. The Louwman Museum is located just 15 minutes from The Hague Central Station.

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