The Art of Reading

Editor's Pick
Southwest Portland
This event has passed. Sorry you missed it!
Nov. 16, 2019–June 21, 2020
Days vary
Cost: Museum Admission: Free for Members, $20 Adults, $17 Seniors 62+ & College Students, Free Children 17 and under
1219 SW Park Ave
Portland, OR 97205

The following description was submitted by the event organizer.

"Reading may be falling out of fashion in these times of increasingly short attention spans, but books were once a big business, and publishers employed gifted artists to promote their newest titles. The Art of Reading presents gems from the golden age of poster advertising, with color lithographs from some of the most famous names in Art Nouveau design. " – Oregon Arts Watch

The artistic poster first flourished in the United States in the 1890s. Initially following design trends pioneered in Europe, American artists soon created their own unique style. Magazines were among the first to adopt this new form of advertising, employing outstanding designers such as Will Bradley, Edward Penfield and Maxfield Parrish to advertise periodicals including Harper’s, Lippincott’s and The Century. The posters were produced using color lithography, allowing artists to create powerful designs with bold color that married original art with advertising. Posters were placed in bookshops and on newsstands to entice readers to purchase books and magazines, but soon the artistic posters became more popular than the work they advertised. A brief but intense period of “poster mania” swept the country before dying out just as quickly. This exhibition features original posters, magazine covers and book covers from this exciting chapter of design, artistic and literary history.

The exhibition is largely drawn from the collection of Daniel Bergsvik and Donald Hastler, who have promised their distinguished collection of American and international posters to the Portland Art Museum.

This exhibition is organized by the Portland Art Museum and curated by Mary Weaver Chapin, Ph.D., Curator of Prints and Drawings. It is supported in part by the Vivian and Gordon Gilkey Endowment for Graphic Art and the Exhibition Series Sponsors.