The print album L’Estampe Moderne was published monthly between 1897 and 1899.
Each edition included four prints and cost 3.50 francs. The album was notable for its large edition of no less than two thousand.
This enabled the publishers to keep the price relatively low, as they hoped to sell the prints to the mass market.
This was in sharp contrast with other albums, the circulation of which was usually limited to between one and two hundred, in order to give the prints an exclusive character.
Most of the prints in L’Estampe Moderne were colour lithographs with decorative images of women.
The flowing hair, elegant robes and floral patterns are typical of Art nouveau and reflected the tastes of the general public.
Each print came with a separate sheet containing an appropriate extract from contemporary literature.
Taste of the Masses
L’Estampe Moderne was financially successful, but the album was disparaged by print connoisseurs, who found the participating artists insufficiently progressive or important, the edition too large, and the quality of the paper and printing techniques inferior.
In his survey of the most important printmakers in 1898, the critic André Mellerio dismissed the album as ‘banal’.
André Mellerio, La lithographie originale en couleurs, Paris, 1898.
Tony Palmer, Anne Willsford (red.), L'Estampe moderne (the modern print), tent.cat., Canberra (Australian National Gallery), 1983.
adventuresintheprinttrade.blogspot.nl (accessed 8 april 2015)