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Biography of William H. Bradley (1868-1962)

<--William H. Bradley (1868-1962)-->

William H. Bradley was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1868. Son of a cartoonist, he was fascinated by type printing and illustration as a child. In his first job he worked as a printer's apprentice. Later he worked as the foreman for a local newspaper and earned extra money by designing posters in his spare time. In 1886 he moved to Chicago to begin his career as an artist.

Self-taught, Bradley was aware of the latest artistic trends and was influenced by Japanese art and British theories of art and decoration. Bradley's poster designs were among the first examples of Art Nouveau in the United States. He wished to introduce art and good taste into everyday living. He used flat shapes with very few colors along with highly decorative elements. Bradley's bold and elegant style was greatly influenced by Aubrey Beardsley.

Bradley designed numerous posters for 'The Chap-Book,' a literary magazine. In 1894 he set up his own printing company, The Wayside Press, and later produced an art and literary magazine 'Bradley: His Book.' In his later life he worked as an art editor. He died at the age of ninety-four, having been recognized for his outstanding contributions to Art Nouveau and the American poster.