Vintage Posters, as collectibles, carry a certain cachet, as rescued fragments of a lost past. Original authentic vintage European poster advertising has come to be recognized as a highly collectible form of art, whether for pleasure or for investment purposes. World-renowned museums exhibit vintage posters and many have permanent collections. Magnificent examples of such vintage poster collections can be found at the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern, in New York, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Advertising agencies of that era would commission, or accept from free-lance artists, an original painting, referred to as a "maquette." This original piece was usually delivered in the form of a "gouache" or watercolor. If the “maquette” was accepted by the agency, the artwork would be recreated on a soft Bavarian limestone surface. This lithographic printing process involved as many as 17 individual color applications, which had to be applied to each individual paper one color at a time. Each new color application required that the limestone surface be washed repeatedly during the application of that individual color. When a new color was introduced, likewise a new stone was introduced, which was designed to accept the placement of the new color. Cross like markings, usually found at the top and bottom of the poster are the printer's registration marks, placed there for the purpose of keeping the color applications in their appropriate places when a new stone was introduced. A press was used to adhere the colored ink on the limestone, onto the paper. Over 65 yrs. of use of this lithographic process have been documented for vintage posters.
When the printing was complete the finished posters were glued or tacked to walls and kiosks across their country of origin. These colorful advertisements created a festival-like atmosphere on the otherwise drab and dreary streets of Europe.