Jules Cheret was born in May 1836, in Paris, France. He was born into a poor and yet very creative family of artisans. As a child, he had a rather limited formal education. At thirteen years old, he was apprenticed by a lithographer, which took three years. This process sparked his interest in painting, which led him to enroll at the École Nationale de Dessin. Like many aspiring artists, Cheret would study techniques of several artists, past and present, by visiting the museums of Paris.
Cheret’s first significant commission would come in 1858, to create a poster for Orpheus in the Underworld, an operetta by Jacques Offenbach. In the next year, he moved to London, where he stayed for seven years, training lithography and producing mainly posters and book jackets. He also created several packages for Eugene Rimmel, the famous perfume and cosmetics manufacturer, whose funding enabled Cheret to establish his lithography firm in Paris.
Upon his arrival back to Paris in 1866, and now with his own firm, Cheret created several vivid and well-known posters ads for music halls, cabarets, and theaters, such as the Olympia, the Eldorado, and the famous Moulin Rouge, to name only some. The artist also produced posters of distinguished personal performers, such as Sarah Bernhardt’s La Biche au Bois and promotions of the Concert Parisien’s Yvette Guilbert.
Cheret’s posters executed in the chromolithographic method would influence several prominent artists to come, such as Czech Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha, Theophile Steinlen, the creator of the famous poster Tournee Du Chat Noir, decorative artists such as Edouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard, and the highly celebrated Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
In 1893, Cheret created the poster Folies Bergeres for the dancer Loie Fuller, said artwork is an excellent example of Cheret’s art style. A depiction of a central joyful figure engulfed by fluidly executed draperies and striking swirling motions.
In 1890, the artist was awarded the highest honor from the French government for his artistic contributions, the distinguished Legion d’honneur. In 1895, Cheret published a book comprised of 100 poster arts by him and several other French artists, aiming to encourage young artists to explore the poster art medium.
Jules Cheret died at 96 years old, on September 23, 1932.