ggg Antelope 1989;Kazumasa Nagai;41″x29″
It might be a good idea to begin our embrace of original vintage poster design’s focus upon animals, by way of a creature’s-eye-view of what is thrilling. The work shown above, Kazumasa Nagai’s reverie on the antelope and its being haunted by visions of the wild beauty of swiftness that is not its own, opens the way for our appreciation of a modest and generous elicitation that can be remarkably developed by design.
Group Show 1991;Kazumasa Nagai; 41″x 29″
Nagai, again, with a witty juxtaposition of a Matisse-powered zebra and his less refined cousin.
ggg Rhino-Snake 1989;Kazumasa Nagai;41″ x 29″
Worlds colliding? A reverie-filled-rhino and a one-track-snake—eyeing each other with surprise and curiosity.
Lolotte et le Chat Maigre c.1900;Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen; 21 7/8″ x 16″
A swarm of cats appreciative of the girl’s generosity. Another take on the charm of beasts receiving a lift from skills not within their own range.
Journee des Regions Liberees 1919;Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen;45″ x 31″
Sensing a void this time, and rushing to fill it.
Cocorico 1913; Jules-Alexandre Grun;47″ x 30″
Brightening the darkness.
Zoo 1949;Sikker Hansen; 33 5/8″ X 25 3/8″
Here the design project was to show animals in captivity as worthy of more than a careless glance. The masterful modelling and sense of scale, composition and color constitutes an evocation of approaching a zoo as a form of theater from which we can learn much.
Cognac Albert Robin Art in Advertising 1989 ;Leonetto Cappiello; 23 1/2″ X 15 1/2″
Cappiello’s design represents the more mainstream vein of vintage poster advertising. Here it is the artist and the client whose initiatives are paramount. The vivid bird is enlisted to provide a foretaste of a superior product which cannot fail to enhance the consumer’s well-being and readiness to shine in the world.
Jockey Club 1972; Bernard Villemot; 15″ x 11″
Villemot’s turning a horse race into a ballet represent a mulch-layering of the shaping of wild animals into entertainment devices, under the auspices of zeal for striking it rich from the lottery. On the other hand, from out of this basis of servitude, the great skill of the graphic production allows a wave of mystery about the creatures to promise more than any slot machine could offer.
Oransoda/Lemonsoda c.1955; Franco Mosca; 11 1/2″ x 9″
Here the exigencies of pin-up design to cool the healthy drinks shrink the animal to the role of (jealous) accessory.
Pacha Noir 1890s; Jules-Alexandre Grun; 48″ X 34″
Veering into a civilization, of sorts. Alley cats becoming Stage-Door-Johnnies. Grun’s sense of good-humored audacity is very well put; but the twist here involves the undermining of the expressivity of the vehicle of wild animals.