Gerrish Fine Art owns a major collection of over 100 rare and original protest posters produced during the Mai 68 movement in France. These icons of rebellion and civil disorder are the forerunners of today’s thriving street art movement. As monuments to the intense power of the image to bring about change, they represent one of the most potent and striking graphic revolutions in history - fierce symbols of art at the service of insurrection.

These posters were produced during the events of May and June 1968 in France. They were plastered over the walls of Paris each day, icons of this political moment and the daily struggles faced by students and workers alike. The main themes tackled in the posters include the denouncement of De Gaulle and opposition to parliament, resistance to police power, criticism of capitalism, defence of people power, unity between students and workers, and support of the strikers across France.

The first studio to emerge was formed at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts; the lithography studio there was occupied on the 16th of May and rechristened the ‘Atelier Populaire’. Poster studios were also formed at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Decoratifs, and the École de Medecine among others. Many posters bear the stamps of these various studios as the posters were a collective effort and the artists remained anonymous in a rebuttal to bourgeois capitalist values. Ideas and slogans for posters were presented each day at a general assembly where workers, students and artists analysed the key political events they wanted to address and voted on how best the idea could be communicated in graphic form.

The majority of the designs are screenprinted, as this was the fastest and most efficient way to produce large numbers of posters for immediate dissemination in the streets. However stencil, litho and offset were also used. Many were printed on old newspaper stock from striking printers who also provided ink to support the movement. Under the cover of night volunteers would sneak out of the studios with the posters and paste them up over the walls of the Latin quarter ready for the new day ahead.

Prices range from £150 to £2250.

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