Is Advertising Art?

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Inside America’s largest museum complex, the untutored eye might assume the image of a woman adorned in a bright yellow dress, one white-gloved hand gripping a parasol, is something by an Impressionist. And after a cursory glance, the poem of love and longing printed beneath her could be confused with a Robert Browning work.

Not until one notices the words “Ivory soap” at the end of the poem does the work reveal itself—as a Procter & Gamble print ad.

“Summer Breezes,” P&G’s first color advertisement, made its debut in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1896.

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