Prints in Paris 1900. From Elite to the Street.

The fin-de-siècle (1890–1905) was the heyday of French printmaking. It was the time where avant-garde art blended with everyday life in cosmopolitan Paris. Artists no longer put their talent to work exclusively on the creation of ‘high’ art, but also threw themselves into what were considered ‘lower’ art forms, such as decorative designs, prints, posters and magazine illustrations, with the common theme of modern cosmopolitan life in Paris. Artists experimented intensively with different print techniques and decorated the whole of Paris with their provocative artworks. World-famous posters such as Le Chat Noir and Le Moulin Rouge were displayed along the boulevards and in popular cafés. Some artists also created exclusive prints for the elite which could only be seen in private collections, fashionable theatres and exclusive galleries. The exhibition ‘Prints in Paris 1900: From Elite to the Street’ presents over 250 prints of the highest quality, including colourful works by Bonnard, Chéret, Steinlen and Toulouse-Lautrec. The prints will be shown alongside paintings, historical photographs, furniture from collectors and decorative objects, and will take visitors on a thrilling journey through the cosmopolitan life of Paris around 1900.

The Van Gogh Museum manages one of the finest collections of fin-de-siècle printmaking in the world. Due to their fragility, these prints are only rarely displayed. The museum has spent sixteen years bringing together this collection, including five years of intensive research into the world of French printmaking. The result is a unique exhibition of 250 works being presented in their original context.

The overarching story of the world of printmaking in Paris – from elite (the private collector) to the street (the mass of people) – has never previously been told in an exhibition. ‘Prints in Paris 1900’ takes visitors on a journey beginning with prints from fashionable art circles, before entering an entirely different world – that of popular prints for the masses. Here, fleeting impressions of the visual spectacle of modern public life are presented – full of colour, light and pleasure. Artistic posters, sheet music and magazine illustrations with their bright colours, large letters and powerful silhouettes, compete for attention. The exhibition then shows how the elite took public printmaking and pulled it back into their interiors, where posters were hung on the walls as decorations. The exhibition concludes with a presentation of the various printing techniques used at the time.

The museum’s full print collection is able for viewing online. You can see over 1700 prints at




Museum informatie

Van Gogh Museum
Museumplein 6
1071 DJ

+31 (0)20 570 5200
[email protected]




Visitors under 18 Gratis

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