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Designed and printed by the Strobridge Lithograph Company.
poster had been the most pitiful of all forms of pictorial advertising. In conception it never aimed to be more than feebly instructive, and in execution it was as hideous as cheap work could make it. It was constructed upon one of a few simple formulas-simple to the point of idiocy. Of these the most in use was what was known as the "Before and After"-which was short for Before and After Taking. This involved the employment of two pictures, one of which represented a lean and haggard wretch of advanced years, destitute of teeth, and but sparsely provided
LAINT YER FATHER, NELL.
Drawn by Hugo Ziegfeld for the H. C. Miner-Springer Lithograph Company.
with hair, who was apparently trying to present his physical disabilities to the beholder in the most unpleasant possible light. The other picture showed a sturdy, lusty person in the prime of life, with well-slicked hair and as many teeth as the artist could crowd into his mouth, which was always shown stretched open in a laugh of an impossibly large size. Those who gazed on this display were expected to believe that the miracle of transforming the aged wreck into an offensively healthy person of thirty-five had been accomplished by the use of three bottles of OLD DR. RIPLEY'S RESURGENT REINVIGORATOR OR IMBRICATED INDIAN TONIC.
Drawn by E. Potthast for the Strobridge Lithograph Company.
This was the favorite formula, but others pressed it hard. One that had considerable popularity showed a happy and precocious little boy with red striped stockings, yellow clothes, and, necessarily, red and yellow hair, rushing merrily into the room of his aged grandmother, and offering her a bottle of the good doctor's decoction. This little boy was among the most useful of all poster-subjects; for if the advertiser wanted to spend money, he could have two pictures, in the first of which the grandmother sat paralyzed in her arm-chair with a crutch by her side
Drawn by Robert Joste for the Metropolitan Print. Company.
Selection of Modern Theatrical Posters.
stick this up anyway. It's for the good of the community."
Drawn by Theodore A. Liebler.
Drawn by Joseph Baker.
Published by A. Hoen & Company.
Drawn by Louis J. Rhead.
not a nice, easy crutch, but just a plain old home-made T-shaped affair-while in the second tableau the boy's rejuvenated relative accompanied him to the front door, and cast her crutch violently into the perspective. On the other hand, if the advertiser wanted to do things cheaply, one picture would suffice: wherein the old lady rose from her striped arm chair, flinging her crutch loosely among the furniture at the mere sight of the boy and the bottle. In either case the old lady's chair was striped with the colors of the boy. But the day came when some shrewd advertiser perceived that these pictures really had no firm claim on the popular respect. This was shown by the unfailing certainty with which, sooner or later, the lead-pencil of the public decorated the small boy with spectacles, and his grandmother with sidewhiskers. This man must have reasoned as did the trustees of the Boston Public Library, when they found that the citizens were making the shab
by old furniture of the library look shabbier yet with ink-marks and knifecuts. Some officials would have turned out the offending citizens, but these trustees were wiser. They turned out the shabby old furniture, and replaced it with the handsomest that money could buy. Then the people respected those who had treated them with respect, and the defacement stopped forever. Applying the same idea to the Patent Medicine Poster business, our advertiser set to work to address himself to the public, with a decent courtesy and deference. His plan worked; perhaps he surprised himself, certainly he surprised the public. Even the worried business man, hurrying to his office, stopped when he found himself confronted with a poster that, though it bore the name of a well-known nostrum, bore also a highly attractive picture, well conceived and well executed; evidently an artist's design, and not that of an artisan; evidently made especially for the use it was put to, and evidently reproduced by the costliest skill. The subject was nothing-a sin
Drawn by E. H. Kiefer.
Recent Theatrical, Trade, and Newspaper Posters.
gle figure and the article to be advertised; but the latter object, while it was recognizable, was not unduly prominent; and the figure was an admirably drawn study of a type well chosen to interest observers of every class.
The success of this first appeal to the popular interest by really artistic methods was so marked and unmistakable that it found numerous imitators. Business men, who spent money largely in pictorial advertising, began to see that it was not the quantity but the quality of the printing they put forth that caught and held the popular eye;
do for the poster something approaching what natural taste and inborn inspiration had already done for it in France. The vulgar conventionalities of the past began to lose their commercial value; and the artist was called in to do what the advertising agent had done before. Still, so lit
tle did Americans, in the office or in the studio, realize that art is worthy of respect, even in its humblest manifestations, that the artists were ashamed to put their names to the good work they did for the good money of the advertiser ; and the advertisers
and it looked for a little while as though fatuously congratulated themselves on American ingenuity and liberality might the fact that good artists came a few dol