French lithographer, painter and poster designer, Jules Chéret was born in Paris in 1836. His formal art training was limited to a course at the Ecole Nationale de Dessin, as a pupil of Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran. He began apprenticeships with several lithographers at the age of thirteen, which proved to be beneficial to his future career as a poster artist. His first poster, “Orpheus in the Underworld” was created for composer Jacques Offenbach in 1858 and soon after, Chéret traveled to London where he designed book covers for the publishing firm of Cramer as well as numerous posters for the circus, theatre and music halls. In 1866, with support from perfume manufacturer Eugène Rimmel, he established a commercial color lithographic shop in Paris.
Initially, he worked with only one or two colors and in 1869 he introduced a new system of printing from three stones. This process was used as the basis of Chéret’s lithographic posters throughout the 1870s and early 1880s.
After attaining great success and financial stability, he transferred responsibility of his shop to Chaix & Company, still maintaining artistic control.