Poster Art from the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema

(Carteles de la Época de Oro del cine mexicano)


(informative page; book out of print; limited number of collectible copies available)

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The publication of "Poster Art From the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, 1936-1956 constituted a landmark for the Agrasánchez Film Archive: it made available, for the first time, a small part of its vast holdings of movie posters to a wide readership in the United States and other countries. The volume, which contains 200 color images, has also largely contributed to the promotion of classic Mexican cinema.

The project for this book was conceived in 1988 by Rogelio Agrasánchez Jr.  After a painstaking effort in locating and salvaging posters and other advertising materials, the author realized the need to document the history of Mexican movie poster art and the artists who made it.  Agrasánchez interviewed some of the artists who were still alive or their relatives.  He learned about styles, artistic influences, and business practices related to film propaganda in Mexico.

After years of searching for support for his project with no significant results, Agrasánchez decided to be the major financial backer for the publication of the book.

While looking for additional backers, he came across Charles Ramírez Berg, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who provided a detailed introduction to the book. 

Finally, the first edition was published by the Agrasánchez Archive with minor participation of the University of Gualadalajara and the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE).  Two hundred posters from the Golden Age were reproduced in full color in this lavish volume. 

'Poster Art...' takes the reader into a world of striking images, astounding colors and breathtaking scenes, created by numerous artists, both from Mexico and Spain.  By means of form, color, and composition, these artists conveyed a world of emotions to movie audiences; human passions at their best and also their worst; as well as joie de vivre, and dear traditions and local costumes.  Daring heroes, dazzling beauties and crooked villains paraded in those memorable works of art. 

Most of the movie poster artists from that era were mainly devoted to commercially oriented designs, like Juan Antonio Vargas Briones and his son, Juan Antonio Vargas Ocampo; Leopoldo Mendoza, Juanino Renau (who was also the author of two textbooks on graphic design), Heriberto Andrade and others.  Renowned cartoonists also contributed with splendid works:  Antonio Arias Bernal, Andrés Audifred, Ernesto García Cabral, Antonio Rivero Gil and Antonio Arias Bernal.

Some other artists had an interest in what is called "pure art", and also used their talent to design propaganda for political and commercial purposes, like Josep Renau and José Espert (Josep Spert).

A few designers and writers of comics had also a role in the making of posters for movies from the Golden Age.  Among them, José G. Cruz outstood for his compelling images.

The book was presented at the Muestra de Cine de Guadalajara in 1998.  It immediately caught the attention of the public, going out of print in less than six months.  A reprint in softcover was put out, this time financed only by the Archive.  Again, the softcover edition went out of print very soon.  This book has never been published by UT Press, as some sources have affirmed.

A modified, shorter edition of the book is was designed and published by a well-known editing house, which also published another volume authored by Agrasánchez, about Mexican movie poster art created after the Golden Age.

Readers interested in learning more about Mexican movie poster art may like the articles in the Film advertising: art & business section.

There are a few collectible copies available of this book (hardcover edition). Price is $75.00 USD. Insured shipping by Media Mail is included.

For a limited time, receive a copy (in CD) of our album 'Bellezas de época' with the purchase of this book.

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