This fascinating French poster advertises a Russian Exposition (“Exposition Russe”) at the Champ-de-Mars in Paris. This 1895 exposition, featuring Russian cultural and equestrian displays and events, was held during a period of friendly relations and alliances between France and Russia that began around 1891-1894.
This poster shows a Russian Cossack returning triumphantly from battle, holding his cap aloft and leading a procession of fellow Cossacks, drawn in the background as a long line of black silhouetted figures on horseback with their spears jutting up. The Cossack in the foreground appears happy and smiling, but we’re not sure what his horse is thinking.
The heading of the poster announcing “Exposition Russe” is cleverly drawn so that it looks like this Cossack in the foreground is carrying a banner announcing the exhibition as he leads the procession of soldiers.
One interesting aspect of this poster is that the Champ-de-Mars, where the exposition took place, is a large public greenspace in Paris that runs along one side of the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889, so this exposition was held when the Eiffel Tower was newly built.
Emmanuel Poire (1859-1909) designed this poster under the name Caran d’Ache, which appears as his signature in the plate. This name transliterates the Russian word for pencil. Born in Russia to French parents, he was educated in Russia but settled in Paris where he became a well-known illustrator and caricaturist. He spent time in the French army and often used military subjects in his illustrations, as reflected in this poster.
This poster was printed in Paris, as shown by the printer's imprint at the bottom of the right side of the poster.
Add a bit of history to your walls with this beautiful vintage poster that will become the source of many interesting conversations.