This is a rare poster for Harper’s July created by Edward Penfield in 1896. This is an excellent example of the way in which Penfield’s work was inspired both by his French contemporaries, such as Jules Cheret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Japanese woodblock prints. This lithographic image features a woman dressed in bold blue patterned dress with a multicolored hat, holding a red umbrella. She is standing to the left hand side of the poster and appears to be looking at the iconic typography for “Harper’s July” on the top right of the image. The yellow background of the poster perfectly complements the blue, brown, and red color scheme of this American poster.
Edward Penfield is considered to be the father of the American Poster, and was a leading American illustrator during what scholars refer to as the Golden Age of American Illustration. His use of simple shapes, limited color palettes, and boldly outlined figures allowed his posters to pop from a distance with great clarity. His poster designs strongly contributed to the evolution of graphic design.
Harper’s Magazine began as a monthly magazine of politics, literature, culture, finance and the arts; it was created by the New York City publisher Harper & Brothers in June 1850. Harper’s is the second-oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States. The early issues of the magazine featured English authors such as Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters, and later, Americans such as Woodrow Wilson and Herman Melville – just to name a few of the celebrated contributors.