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“La Belle Epoque”, The Beautiful Era.
You always hear “they just don’t make things the way they used to”. Well that’s how we feel about Belle Epoque.
La Belle Epoque takes us back to a special place. Imagine walking down the cobblestone streets of Paris, enamored by the magnificent details along the way; lampposts, doors, and architecture all filled with incredible flowery and facial embellishments.
The epitome of Belle Epoque was the Art Nouveau style which was popular from 1890-1910.
At even a glance into a collection of Belle Epoque artwork, you can’t escape the all-encompassing beauty and charm in each and every aspect of the image. From the home decor in the background of an Art Nouveau painting to the font that’s used to convey the message of a Vintage Belle Epoque Poster, not an inch goes unused.
Take this journey with us as we explore this beautiful era. We’ll update this list periodically.
H. Gray & H. Tanconville
To begin our list is a rich, vibrant PLM (Paris-Lyon-Mediterranee) Travel Poster to Vichy, France dated 1898. Vichy was known at the time for its famous thermal baths (spas) and its fabulous park (pictured in the poster).
Vichy was home to Napoleon from 1861-1866 where he changed the landscape, created new boulevards and streets and made it one of the most elegant cities in France.
During this time (specifically 1865), the splendid park was built by an architect named “Badger”. In year 1900, they added the iconic gates/fences from the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris to enclose the park.
Also around this time, the Spa became popular with the upper-middle class Parisiens (including celebrities). The Spa’s popularity actually kicked off the massive construction of the Vichy Opera House in 1903.
The elegant attire and floral details made this Poster the perfect representation of Belle Epoque.
by Jules Cheret
For our second choice, we have Concours Hippique Vintage Racing Poster for a Horse Show in Nimes.
The two riders are beautifully dressed in the classical equestrian style, with their red jackets creating a vibrant contrast with the muted yellows, pinks and blues of the background, further emphasizing the movement of the riders and their horses.
This poster was created by the prolific designer Pal (Jean de Paleologue), and features two stunningly detailed horses practically jumping out of the foreground.
‘The Diaphane’ by Jules Cheret
In this Belle Epoque Poster, Sarah Bernhardt is seen here endorsing a facial powder similar to make-up.
At the time, make-up was typically not mainstream. But Bernhardt was a smart business-women, and helped bring this product to the general population. Bernhardt can be seen here wearing a red dress, a white boa, and long black gloves.
The Artist for this Vintage Poster just so happens to be the father of La Belle Epoque, Jules Cheret. In 1899, Cheret received the French Legion of Honor for popularizing the French Advertising Poster.
The subtext on the bottom reads: ‘The most fashionable, delicate & hearing, invisible powder’.
‘Cannes’ by Robaudi
Here we have a Belle Epoque Travel Poster to Cannes right on the Cote d’Azure on the French Riviera.
Known today for the famous Cannes film festival, Cannes was (and still is) ‘the playground of the rich’. Luxurious hotels, fabulous cafes and the most beautiful beaches all serve as assets to this wonderful town. The average temperature in the Winter is 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit!
The fine, white sand that makes Cannes beaches such a delight is replenished before the season begins in mid-May (in time for the Cannes Film Festival).
Pictured is a couple on the veranda of a poshe hotel viewing the waters of the ‘blue coast’ with floral arrangements surrounding them.
‘S. Stein’ by Metlicovitz
Finally, this Italian Belle Epoque poster was originally designed in 1900 by Leopoldo Metlicovitz for the Mele Department Store. This version, however, was redesigned in 1906 for their partner store S. Stein in Beirut, Lebanon.
Mele Department Store, which was known for their high-end clientelle, found Beirut as a good extension for their business – known at the time as the ‘Riviera of the Middle-East’ with their high-class, wealthy populous.
The poster is printed in French, compared to Italian, as French was considered the high-class language.
On the top in Arabic is the name of the store “S. Stein” in a flowery design, reminiscent of classical lettering.