Color lithography became popular in the 1880s, about the same time as the Art Nouveau style. The technology brought graphic arts to the masses, not just those wealthy enough to afford traditional art in their homes. The 'father of the poster,' Jules Cheret, developed a method enabling a wide array of vibrant colors to be used on posters and postcards, inspiring artists to create elaborate Art Nouveau artwork and graphics, primarily for advertising purposes.

Today, artwork by Alphonse Mucha is considered quintessential Art Nouveau design. Mucha’s posters, featuring women and flowing lines (formed from imagery such as a dress or smoke from a cigarette), were immensely popular during the Art Nouveau period and remain so today. Other notable period graphic artists include Henri Privat-Livemont, Fernand Toussaint, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Eugène Grasset, and Paul Emile Berthon.

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