Friday, April 10, 2015

Will Bradley: Master Poster Artist

The Art Nouveau era from roughly 1890 to near the time of the Great War was a high point for poster design, in my opinion. Laurtrec, Jules Cheret, Maxfield Parrish, Alphonse Mucha and others created designs for posters and magazine covers (a closely related field) that remain popular works of art. Perhaps the leading American poster artist in that era was Will H. Bradley (1868-1962), the subject of this post.

A brief Wikipedia entry on Bradley is here, a link with more detail and plenty of images is here, and a chronology of his life can be found here. He had a long career that involved art direction as well as creating artwork.

Bradley was essentially self-taught, learning his trade on the job. The images below are mostly or entirely from the late 1890s. If I eventually find enough interesting illustration art from later in his career, I'll post on that.


Chapbook cover - Nov. 1895
Plenty of Art Nouveau swirls here.

Inland Printer cover - February 1895
This has more of an Art & Crafts feeling.

Springfield Bicycle Club poster - 1895
Although motor cars existed in 1895, bicycling had become popular due to the invention of the bicycle chain drive.

Bradley, His Book - 1896
A faint hint of Aubrey Beardsley here.

Victor Bicycles poster - 1899

When Hearts Are Trumps
This seems strongly influenced by Beardsley.

1 comment:

Hels said...

I can see a LOT of the Audrey Beardsley here *nod*. But perhaps Beardsley was just a bit too early for his own good, or perhaps Will Bradley was less erotic and decadent.