Sagot’s tiny shop swiftly became the place to be for collectors of fine-art posters.
Aficionados initially had to peel the desired work from the wall or bribe a billposter — now they could buy a pristine copy directly from Sagot.
He even offered special, limited edition posters, printed on deluxe paper and signed by the artist.
When a judge threatened to ban Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s controversial poster La Reine de joie from public display, the shrewd dealer promptly bought up the entire stock so he could sell them at his print shop.
Sagot confirmed his shop’s status as the epicentre of modern printmaking by having the leading French artists of the day design his business cards.
The most famous example is Félix Vallotton’s card, which was also used as an advertisement in the leading magazines.
Well-to-do print and book collectors flocked to Sagot’s shop window, where the newest of the new was always waiting to be admired.
Librairie Sagot, Catalogue d’affiches illustrées anciennes et modernes, Paris 1891
André Mellerio, La lithographie originale en couleurs, Paris 1898
Phillip Dennis Cate et al., The Color Revolution. Color Lithography in France, 1890-1900, Santa Barbara 1970