November 01, 2016

New Exhibition, L'Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters, to Open February 2017

The Driehaus Museum announces new special exhibition
L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters

Celebrating the art of the Belle Époque poster with 45 works by five grand masters.

CHICAGO (November 1, 2016) - The Richard H. Driehaus Museum is proud to announce the special exhibition L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters opening February 11, 2017. The exhibition features 45 posters dating from 1875 to 1910 created by five grand masters: Jules Chéret, Eugène Grasset, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Alphonse Mucha.

Bright and bold and found everywhere in fin-de-siècle Paris, the poster was a brilliant fusion of art and commerce. “Subject as it was to wind, rain, and being covered up by posters from rival firms, the ephemeral poster nonetheless became the subject of passionate collecting in its own time,” says Jeannine Falino, exhibition curator. The poster craze, known as affichomanie, revolved around the acquisition of these posters, from buying and selling special editions to stealthy removals from walls and kiosks.

All the posters presented in the exhibition are drawn from the Collection of Richard H. Driehaus. “How fortunate we are to have these lively memories of the past to enjoy today; to experience that certain je ne sais quoi while strolling the exhibition galleries like the Parisians who once encountered them along the boulevards and in favorite bars, restaurants, and clubs; to savor forever the excitement of Paris during the glorious Belle Époque period through the colors and
charm of these enchanting posters,” says Museum Founder and Collector, Richard H. Driehaus.

“The posters of fin-de-siècle Paris are a pillar of Mr. Driehaus’s collection, which began in the mid-1970s with his first acquisition, a small print by Jules Chéret,” says Lise Dubé-Scherr, Museum Director. “We look forward to sharing these beautiful, vibrant works with the public in the intimate galleries at the Driehaus Museum, bringing the flavor of Paris to Chicago.” 

Each of the five masters of the medium will be featured in one of the period galleries located on the second and third floors of the Museum. This will allow guests to both explore the artist’s individual style and to compare them with their contemporaries.

About the Artists

Jules Chéret fathered the poster craze when he harnessed the techniques of chromolithography, formerly a commercial medium used for reproductions, and brought them into the realm of fine art. Chèret’s bold imagery and colorful style inspired a generation of artists, led by the four featured in this exhibition. Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen created a proliferation of images for an astounding variety of magazines, journals, and printed media, reaching a wide cross-section of Parisian society. Eugène Grasset, influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, gave his posters the luminosity and definition of stained-glass windows. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec immortalized in his art the performers and prostitutes he met in his bohemian Montmartre milieu. Alphonse Mucha defined the Art Nouveau graphic look, adorning Parisian stage stars with golden haloes and sinuous, windswept tresses.

Exhibition Presenting Sponsor

The Driehaus Museum is also delighted to announce Northern Trust as the presenting sponsor of L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters. “Northern Trust is pleased, once again, to partner with The Richard H. Driehaus Museum in sponsoring L’Affichomania:  The Passion for French Posters,” says Northern Trust President–Wealth Management, Central Region, Mac MacLellan. “Northern Trust has a deep history of supporting the renowned cultural institutions of Chicago and The Richard H. Driehaus Museum is no exception. Our commitment to support the arts and to bring interesting and noteworthy exhibits to our community is furthered through our ongoing relationship with the Driehaus Museum.”

Exhibition Publication

L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue with a preface by Richard H. Driehaus, Museum Founder and Collector, and essay by Jeannine Falino, exhibition curator. The book will be published by The Monacelli Press and distributed by The University of Chicago Press. It will be available in the Museum Store beginning February 1, 2017.

General Information

L’Affichomania will be on view at the Richard H. Driehaus Museum (40 East Erie Street, Chicago, Illinois) from February 11, 2017 to January 7, 2018.

General admission to the Driehaus Museum includes admission to the exhibition. Guests may choose to explore the exhibition on their own, or join a guided tour comprising highlights of the Driehaus Museum’s history and permanent collection as well as exhibition highlights. An Acoustiguide audio tour of the exhibition, featuring commentary by Jeannine Falino, exhibition curator, and Richard H. Driehaus, Museum Founder and Collector, will also be available.

Admission for members of the Driehaus Museum is free. For additional information about joining the Museum, which includes exclusive access to the L’Affichomania galleries prior to the public opening, please visit the Museum’s Membership page.

Public programs exploring a variety of themes from the exhibition, including musical performances, exhibition talks, and more, will be presented for the duration of the exhibition. For information and tickets, please visit our Programs page.

Host a private event at the Driehaus Museum and enjoy exclusive access to the special exhibition L’Affichomania. Whether planning a private affair, a corporate gathering, or a celebratory occasion, the Museum provides an elegant and dramatic backdrop. Entertaining at the Driehaus Museum is a privilege we extend exclusively to our Premier Level Donors and Corporate Members.

For additional information, including Museum hours, group tour information, directions, and parking, please visit or call 312.482.8933. ext. 21.


The exhibition is featured on the Driehaus Museum’s website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Use the hashtag #driehauspostermania to share your experiences.

Media Contacts

Liz Tillmanns, Marketing Manager
312.482.8933, ext. 39
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Michelle Molise, Molise PR
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


< Back to overview


Sign up for e-News

Stay up to date with the latest news and programs from the Driehaus Museum. Click here to subscribe