Guest Blog: Dara Young & The History of French Poster Art

Readers, you’re getting a treat today! My friend Dara Young is visiting and chatting about the history of French poster art. I went to Paris last year, and saw some of the places she talks about. A few years ago, I was living in Chicago, and I got to see a really awesome showing of some of the original posters she mentions. Very awesome stuff. So, read on, enjoy, and visit Dara at any of these locations:

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I was first exposed to French poster art in high school. I was a dancer and one of our choreographers was going to create a ballet based on the life of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The ballet was about his life, focusing on his art and the years he spent creating colorful posters for the Moulin Rouge in Paris. Of course the idea of a poster is not new. They have been around forever, but the modern poster came to be in the late 11800’s once color lithography was perfected.

Jules Cheret was single handedly responsible for making the poster what it is today. He produced the first poster art in Paris depicting Sarah Bernardt as Princess Desiree in a stage comedy.

“In 1881, a law was passed which created official "posting places", and an entire industry was created. Every poster required a tax stamp to indicate that a fee had been paid for the right to post it. Based on square footage, the tax led to the adoption of standard sizes. Advertisers worked with artists, printers and posting companies to create, post and maintain the poster on the street.

Jules Cheret would go on to produce over 1,000 posters in his illustrious career. He would inspire and influence such future legends as Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Manet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Maxfield Parrish, Leonetto Cappiello, and many others to participate in the continuing revolution and evolution of the color poster.”

Lautrec is one of the more iconic artists who not only created the posters, but lived the bohemian life style they came to represent. He frequented the dance halls, particularly the Moulin Rouge where he had a table reserved, drank excessively, and was rumored to have acquired syphilis. His posters were vibrant, capturing the vitality and energy of the people he depicted. Or, when he chose, the darker emotions.

As we learned the choreography for the ballet, we learned about the artist and his art. The sets were painted to resemble his posters and we watched movies and listened to lectures about his life, his art, and the Moulin Rouge. I was entranced then, and frankly I still am. Other than painting my house purple, I would probably decorate with Lautrec posters everywhere if my husband would let me. J

Has art ever inspired you to do something? To create something? Do you simply have a favorite artist? Thanks for stopping by to celebrate with me and remember to comment on each post during the blog tour for more chances to win! (Not sure what I’m talking about? Click here.)

Post Resources:

The Cancan Dancer and The Duke

The Wild Rose Press

Can a lady on the lam and a duke on the make find love at the Moulin Rouge?

Cathedrals and museums are not Lady Charise Colton’s idea of European adventure. Turn-of-the-century Paris beckons, and she wants to grab it while she can…or rather, cancan. Flirting with fate and half of Paris, Charise eludes her chaperones and joins the cancan revue at the Moulin Rouge.

Ethan Greer, Duke of Lofton, is in Paris to settle some estate business. Chafing under his responsibilities, he discovers an enchanting distraction at the Moulin Rouge, a flirtatious dancer who stirs his lust and something more. He must have her—even if it means offering carte blanche.

Terrified of discovery, Charise tries to hold her persistent suitor at bay, though her heart has already surrendered. Will she lose him if he learns the truth, or is love enough to bind the cancan dancer and the duke?


The singular sound was a soft whisper at first. The audience strained forward to catch even a note of the eerie melody carried on the fetid air of the cafe. As the song picked up, her voice grew stronger, the words more clear. Ethan relaxed into his seat and let the warm rich alto caress him. His body grew warm with the promises carried by the witch’s husky tones.

He remained unaware of anything in the room except the siren walking toward him. Each steady, unhurried step she took further drew him in. His gaze feasted on the curve of her hip, the swell of her breast. Ethan rode the knife’s edge between lust and propriety.

The song described, in lurid detail, two lovers in the throes of passion. Upon reaching him, the dancer propped the toe of her boot onto the edge of his seat—square between his thighs. The luscious creature presented impossibly sheer bloomers which hid everything and yet nothing, causing him to let out the breath he, until now, unknowingly held. His cock grew rigid, the uncomfortable throbbing causing him to shift. The desire to haul her into his arms and demonstrate every action she described with the most sensuous mouth he’d ever seen rode him hard. Her full lower lip begged for his kiss. Ethan wanted to see it slick and glowing pink from his attentions.

The wanton dancer continued to taunt him, but his good breeding won out. Forcing himself to stay seated, his fists balled and his jaw grew rigid with frustration, but his raging lusts remained leashed. The song ended, sending her into the nether regions of the cafe in a swirl of skirts.

Add it to my shelf at: GoodReads

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3 thoughts on “Guest Blog: Dara Young & The History of French Poster Art

  1. Joye says:

    Very interesting information about the poster arts.
    Your book sounds really good and I have added it to my TBR list.

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