Many printmakers based their series on existing texts or on storylines of their own, from literature and scripture to topical themes.
Hermann-Paul and Besnard, for instance, both depicted the stages of growth, blossom and decay in the life of the bourgeois woman, while Dulac drew on texts by St Francis of Assisi for his Symbolist landscapes.
These artists numbered their prints to indicate the sequence, but many series of everyday scenes, for instance, can be admired in any order.
In addition to artistic ends, the print series could serve as promotional material.
By making prints with similar subject matter to their paintings, artists were able to publicise their painted work to a wider public.
Although these series were intended as a group, the prints were often sold separately.
Phillip Dennis Cate, ‘From Redon to Rivière. Albums of the 1890s’, in Pat Gilmour, Lasting Impressions. Lithography as Art, London 1988
Fleur Roos Rosa de Carvalho, ‘The suite: refashioning an old formula’, in Printmaking in Paris. The rage for prints at the fin de siècle, Amsterdam 2012
Britany Salsbury, The Print Portfolio and the Bourgeoisie in Fin-de-Siècle Paris, PhD diss., City University of New York 2015