Health For Sale
Since the late 1960s, William H. Helfand has donated more than 1,000 posters, prints, and ephemera to the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Ars Medica Collection, the world’s only collection of medical prints housed in an art museum. This fascinating volume presents some 50 of the nearly 200 posters in the renowned Helfand Collection, and includes the work of prominent artists such as Jules Chéret and Leonetto Cappiello. Chéret’s large, colorful lithographs elevated the commercial placard to the rank of art, while Cappiello’s arresting figures revolutionized 20th-century poster design. Additional examples demonstrate the wide range of compositions produced by unidentified artists working in Europe and the United States between the late 19th and 20th centuries. Dating from the mid-19th to the late 20th century, these posters—sometimes strange or startling but most often amusing—address a wide range of topics, including hygiene, medical conferences, and spurious miracle cures.
William H. Helfand is a specialist in the field of art and medicine. John Ittmann is the Kathy and Ted Fernberger Curator of Prints and Innis Howe Shoemakeris the Audrey and William H. Helfand Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, both at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.