I think most coffee table books are a little stupid, seemingly designed just to occupy uncomfortable company while you’re off, I don’t know, platting the hors d’oeuvres? They clutter up the table and seem to me to be mostly just pictures of gardens or whatever. But the just-released 200+ page effort from Schiffer (available now “wherever you buy books”) featuring the best of theatrical poster design through the decades is a coffee table book I can get behind. Or perhaps tear up.
The fun anecdotes from theatre legends are worth keeping but I have to admit it’s taking a lot of my self control to keep from ripping up this deeply perusable tome full of beautiful poster designs by the inimitable Frank Verlizzo. I want to put the beautiful prints on my wall, each one packed with personal memory and theatrical history as much as it’s also just an attractive piece of art.
Divided into six sections, Fraver by Design walks the peruser (one doesn’t really “read” a coffee table book) through theatre history aided by the eyes of the man who sold the art to the masses. There are more than 250 posters featured in the book. Below are just a few of my favourites.