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Vintage original 24 x 32.25 in. (61 x 82 cm.) French poster to advertise the SALON DE PARIS - THE AMERICAN BIOGRAPH, held in Paris and printed in 1898.


Printed in France at the dawn of projected commercial cinema for an exhibition (screening) at the Salon de Paris of one-minute films photographed in one continuous take, a grouping of which would comprise a short program for the evening.


The artwork was designed by Alfred Choubrac and depicts an unseen projector beaming the bright image of four young girls in white nightgowns enjoying a pillow fight on top of two beds before their bedtime as the room fills with fluttering feathers. The artwork depicts an actual scene from American Mutoscope and Biograph Company's 1898 short, A Pillow Fight. One of the inventors of the Biograph camera and its related technology with the knowledge to maneuver around Edison's patents was Herman Casler and his name is featured above the word "BIOGRAPH" and he is listed as "Inventor."


Of interest is that the title of Les Bataille des Oreillers (The Battle of Pillows), released in the US in 1898 by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, is prominently displayed in the lower left. Printed by Atelier Choubrac, Colombes, WE BELIEVE THIS POSTER IS THE EARLEST-KNOWN MOTION PICTURE POSTER, FROM ANY COUNTRY, TO ADVERTISE A SPECIFICALLY-BILLED FILM.


As supporting evidence, we have attached a few images from the French book, L'invitation au cinematographe: Les affiches des origines 1895 - 1914, Maeght Editeur, with the selection of posters chosen and related text written by Jean-Louis Capitaine. An example of this poster is depcited in which he states that, *"This poster is remarkable because it explicitly refers to a [specific] film and this for the first time. As for the film, it has been imitated by all the producers of the time, in France and abroad".

*(source: L'invitation au Cinématographe: Les affiches des origines 1895 - 1914).


While M. Capitaine indicates that this version of The Battle of Pillows was the French version by director Ferdinand Zecca, it would have been the 1898 American version produced by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company since this poster was created specifically for the showing of these American-made films in Paris. It has been professionally linen-backed and is in very fine- condition. This is a true museum-quality poster that would be the cornerstone of any serious collection.


Provenance: One of the most importrant poster collections in Paris (acquired by the current owners).


As was the practice at the dawn of cinema, a film made by one company would quickly be copied (remade) by a rival company and released as quickly as possible. As an example, the following films all featured girls having a pillow fight: A Pillow Fight (US; May 24, 1897; American Mutoscope and Biograph Company); Pillow Fight (US; May 24, 1897; Edison Manufacting Company, dir: William Heise); New Pillow Fight {AKA Daughters' Pillow Fight} (US, May 1897; Lubin); Pillow Fight (France; 1898; Lumière); Lively Pillow Fight By Children (UK; 1898; Lumière and Walker); Pillow Fight or Tournament (UK, 1898, Paul's Animatograph Works, dir: Robert W. Paul); and Pillow Fight (UK, 1898, Riley Brothers).



CASINO DE PARIS - THE AMERICAN BIOGRAPH (1898) French Poster By Alfred Choubrac

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