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Artist: Louis J. Rhead
American (1857-1926)

Plate: PL. 8

Title: The Sun
Description: Condition A. Original lithograph from "Les Maitre de L'Affiches" series.
Printed by Imprimerie Chaix, Paris, 1896.
Presented in 16 x 20 in. acid free, archival museum mat, with framing labels. Ready to frame. Shipped boxed flat via Fedex.
Certificate of Authenticity.
See our Terms of Sale
Maitre Sheet Size:11 3/8 in x 15 3/4 in
 29 cm x 40 cm
Price: $675.00 USD

"Rhead was one of the first poster artists to gain an international reputation. Born in England he was quite active in London, New York and Paris with equal success: his exhibition of posters in New York in 1895 was America's first, and was well received. He was heavily influenced by Grasset, whom he admired and met while in Paris" (Rennert, PAI-XXVI 513)

Here we see a wonderful example of Art Nouveau design by Rhead, in which another of his striking redheads, set against an almost modernist background, to advertise space in the New York Sun newspaper for which he did several posters.


Louis Rhead in his studio 1920

Louis Rhead The Rhead family had operated and worked in the Staffordshire Potteries for at least 3 generations. Louis’s father George W. Rhead worked in the pottery industry and was highly respected gilder and ceramic artist. In the 1870s, George Rhead taught art and design in Staffordshire schools. Louis and all his siblings attended their father’s art classes and worked in the potteries as children. Because Louis demonstrated exceptional talent, when he was 13 in 1872, his father sent him to study in Paris with artist Gustave Boulanger. After 3 years in Paris, Rhead returned to work in the potteries as a ceramic artist.

In 1883 at the age of 24 Rhead was offered a position as Art Director for the publishing firm of D. Appleton in New York City. He accepted and emigrated to the U.S. in the fall of 1883. There he married Catherine Bogart Yates, thus becoming an American citizen. They lived in Flatbush overlooking Prospect Park for 40 years.

In the early 1890s, Rhead became a prominent poster artist and was heavily influenced by the work of Swiss artist Eugène Grasset. During the poster craze of the early 1890s, Rhead’s poster art appeared regularly in Harper's Bazaar, Century Magazine, Ladies Home Journal, and Scribner's Magazine. In 1895 he won a Gold Medal for Best American Poster Design at the first International Poster Show in Boston. By the late 1890s, the popularity of poster art declined and Rhead turned to book illustration. Between 1902 and his death in 1926, Rhead illustrated numerous children's books. Most notable were editions of Robin Hood, The Swiss Family Robertson, Treasure Island, and Heidi (see image below).


Rhead book illustration, Heidi 1925

Rhead's death was somewhat unusual. He died from a heart attack at his retirement home in Amityville, Long Island. A portion of his obituary in The New York Friday July 30, 1926: LOUIS RHEAD, ARTIST AND ANGLER, DEAD. Exhausted Recently by Long Struggle In Capturing a 30-pound Turtle. ... About two weeks ago Mr. Rhead set out to catch a turtle weighing thirty pounds which had been devastating trout ponds on his place, Seven Oaks. After the turtle was hooked, it put up a fight for more than half an hour. Although Mr. Rhead was successful in the end, he became exhausted. A short time later he suffered from his first attack of heart disease. Yesterday's was his second. (absoluteastronomy.com)

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