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  • Place of origin:

    Paris (produced)

  • Date:

    1893 (produced)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Chéret, Jules, born 1836 - died 1932 (designer)
    Chéret, Jules, born 1836 - died 1932 (lithographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs J. T. Clarke

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MM, shelf 14

Jules Chéret (1836-1932) is known as the Maître de l'Affiche, or the 'Father of the poster'. This is primarily due to his ground breaking developments in the colour lithographic process, but can also be attributed to his prolific output and ostentatious style: Chéret was capable of rendering even the most banal of subjects sensational. His posters were so popular with the Parisian public that it was rumoured devotees would go out in the middle of the night in order to remove his posters from the walls and add them to their collection.

Physical description

Depicts a harlequin, a clown with an artist's palette, a man in 18th-century French costume and young woman in a yellow hat dancing under a rainbow.

Place of Origin

Paris (produced)


1893 (produced)


Chéret, Jules, born 1836 - died 1932 (designer)
Chéret, Jules, born 1836 - died 1932 (lithographer)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph on paper

Marks and inscriptions

J. Chéret
Signed centre left

L'arc en ciel
Ballet-Pantomime en trois tableaux
Main text

Imp. Chaix (ateliers Chéret) 20, Rue Bergère, Paris

République Française
Stamp lower left


Height: 128 cm, Width: 92 cm

Descriptive line

Colour lithograph for the 'Folies-Bergère, l'Arc en Ciel, Ballet-Pantomime' by Jules Cheret, France 1893.

Labels and date



'American and European Art and Design 1800-1900'

This poster advertises a performance of the ballet-pantomime L'Arc en Ceil at the Folies-Bergére, Paris, in 1893. Its designer, Jules Chéret was a pioneer in exploring colour lithography as applied to poster design, and thus in popularising the colour pictorial poster, bringing this new form of art to the streets of Paris. He founded his own lithographic printing press in 1866 (having served an apprenticeship to a lithographer), and achieved a prodigious output. His best-known work captures the joie-de-vivre of Parisian cabarets, music-halls, dance-halls, and theatres.

Given by Mrs. J. T. Clarke

Given by Mrs. J. T. Clarke [1987-2006]


Lithographic ink; Paper


Colour lithography; Planographic printing

Subjects depicted

Clown; Leisure; Harlequin; Rainbow; Entertainment


Prints; Posters


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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