Study for Harper's August

Edward Penfield American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 690

Penfield often depicted activities newly popular with the leisure class in his posters for Harper’s magazine. In this study for the poster advertising the August 1894 issue, a fashionable woman purchases a bathing suit from a stand—beach-going was one such popular activity—while clutching a Harper’s magazine by her side. It contains the hallmarks of Penfield’s style, including a sparse composition made up of flat planes of color and lettering done by hand rather than letterpress, as was typical of posters at the time. The study provides a glimpse into poster production in the 1890s, when publishing firms such as Harper’s spearheaded technical and stylistic innovations in the field of graphic design.

Study for Harper's August, Edward Penfield (American, Brooklyn, New York 1866–1925 Beacon, New York), Ink, watercolor, and gouache

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