32 Affiches Mai 68

Anonymous Authors, Atelier Populaire


Edition : First / Paris / Ecole Des Beaux Arts / PSU / 1968-1969 / Softcover. / VG
32 posters, ranging from 38x50cm to 68x91cm. The majority are one colour screen printed on thin or newsprint stock, with one printed on brown parcel paper and two printed by lithograph on thin stock. Trimming has occurred to some, and almost all have layers of contemporary posters underneath, sometimes as many as 5. Some of these are identifiable as advertisements of the time, non AP political posters and other AP posters, giving a fascinating provenance. Many of the posters bear the stamps of Ex-Ecole des Beaux Arts, the later stamp of At. Popul, Atelier Populaire du Rel ( at 23 Rue de Richelieu) and AP 14 Montparnasse, the latter being being workshops set up after the police raid in June 1968. A few have been overcoloured, no doubt due to an uneven print impression during the somewhat frantic and clandestine printing process. Of course, the posters produced during this prolific period were sought after and collected at the time, with many being diverted from public use for personal possession- much to the irritation of the workshops, who soon restricted distribution to trusted students, committee members and card holding communists and union members. Later, in October of 1968 a book of Atelier Populaire posters was produced, followed by an avalanche of poster books and reproductions, printed both by screen and lithograph, many of which are still being produced today. The majority of posters offered for sale in the current market are commonly from these sources, with most being produced or bootlegged in the early seventies to a very similar specification to the originals, making genuine examples exceedingly difficult to identify and source.

A stunning collection of 32 posters, with many less well documented examples, taken directly from the streets of Paris from May 1968 to late 1969. The Atelier Populaire was of course famous from it’s inception, in particular work from the Ex-Ecole des Beaux Arts, some of which are represented here, along with many produced after the police occupation of the 27th June and move to PSU at 81 Rue Mademoiselle, along with examples from Atelier Populaire du Rel (23 rue de Richelieu), AP 14 Montparnasse, Robert & Cie – Paris, a non specified Comite d’action and the Comit’ d’initiative et de Coordination pour un Mouvement Revolutionnaire. Subjects range from the more general (workers unite, the fight continues, reject the future offered, general police brutality) to the specific (the Citroen walkouts, the state controlled ORTF, freedom for Inacio Palma, attacks on almost everybody in authority and information about specific events and meetings). What is often forgotten about the student revolution is the global nature of it’s concerns- they are also represented here with statements against Nixon, for Cuba, The Mexican Movement, solidarity with Italian Strikers, anti Franco / Salazar and statements against imperialism, of course along with a lot of local pro-union sentiment, calls to action and support for the often justified French national pastime of being on strike. The posters themselves represent a fascinating insight into a small snapshot of an influential time, where the power of media itself could be appropriated for revolutionary means with an impact that today would be impossible. Though image making and detournement are still used today by a variety of leftists movements with some success, the posters produced in and immediately after May 68 stand as the most striking and effective examples of media hijacking. The posters offered here have direct provenance, being taken from the streets at the time, and their underlayers offer a remarkable insight into their original context and usage.

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