200 Years of American Graphic Art

Reviewed by Louis Dumas


1690-1776

Was when graphic art was introduced to the colonies in America. In 1639 graphic art and the first colonial printing press started together. Before then paper for drawing and writing had to be imported. Most printing and books came from Europe.

1760-1800

After independence things rapidly grew including printing word. Business grew and taverns and coffee shops would advertise with signs that would use mainly pictorial. Many famous painters started off making these signs. Ther also became a growing demand for broadsides and handbills.

1840-1860

By this time bigger and faster press made it more affordable for business to get advertisement. Alexander Anderson was considered father of American wood engraving.

1860-1876

After mid-century there was a boom in pictorial journalism because of the civil war. Recruitment posters were the first of the graphic posters. After political propaganda grew rapidly.

1876-1900

During these years advertising grew with bill posting and business started to have their barns and fences painted. Trade cards began to be mass produced. Packaging at grocery stores was new and allowed manufacturers to advertise on their product. Cereal boxes be came a big deal.


The rest of the book goes on to tell how magazines became a big thing using pictures of beautiful women and famous people. How other ways of producing graphics came along and how things evolved into what they are today.