Group of 22 colorful posters originally designed to be placed close to a newsstand to advertise the Sunday World, the Sunday publication of the New York World, published by Joseph Pulitzer. Well-known artists of the day contributed designs with various styles and themes, including Art Nouveau, humorous and patriotic. Among the illustrators were Richard Felton Outcault (1863-1928), A.D. Gihon and F. Gilbert Edge. A news agent would glue or attach these small posters to a board to advertise the Sunday paper he was selling. Due to their ephemeral nature, they are very rare.
The Sunday World figures prominently in the history of the comics, with two major innovations. In 1889, under Pulitzer’s direction, it launched the first Sunday comics section, which proved an immediate success and circulation builder. In 1895, the paper debuted the first color comic strip, an episode in the series The Yellow Kid, by the innovative cartoonist Richard Felton Outcault (1863-1928). The following year, rival publisher William Randolph Hearst lured Outcault away by offering him more money. Pulitzer countered by hiring George Luks to continue the Yellow Kid series, and a legal battle ensued. The judge ruled that Outcault could draw what he wished, but the Sunday World retained the rights to the original name of the setting, “Hogan’s Alley,” and continued to publish and advertise its rival strip.
The January 19, 1896 poster in the collection being offered here is also in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That poster and one other in the museum’s collection are illustrated in David W. Kiehl’s book American Art Posters of the 1890s (1987, Items 3 and 4). The accompanying text reads: “Quite typical are the many weekly posters issued by the New York World, which combine a sprightly design printed in one or two colors with a listing of contents to the reader.” (p. 18) Additional posters from this collection were subsequently purchased for the Metropolitan’s collection.
Condition: Generally very good, with the usual overall toning, wear, soiling, soft creases, short marginal tears and chips. Images shown on web site are of pertinent part of poster, and exclude some borders, margins, and/or text. Most of the examples shown above are available. Pictures are available on request of actual examples still available.
Kiehl, David W. American Art Posters of the 1890s. Harry N. Abrams, New York: 1987.
“R.F.Outcault.” Illustration House. http://www.illustration-house.com/bios/outcault_bio.html (13 December 2002).
Sunday Funnies LLC. http://sundayfunniesllc.com/Merchant2/articles/100th.htm (13 December 2002).