SPEAKING OF PICTURES: A VINTAGE GRAPHICS BLOG

THE FABULOUSNESS OF THE VINTAGE GRAPHICS OF LEONETTO CAPPIELLO

cognac_monnethttp://www.idesirevintageposters.com/cappiello-cognac-monnet-1927.html

Leonetto Cappiello (1875-1942), an Italian artist who came into his own as a harbinger of the joys of French industrial products, brought into his adoptive homeland a range of figuration and color display which bridged the gap between revolutionary sensibilities and down-to-earth pleasures. A major characteristic of a Cappiello design is the action of figures taking wing, their arabesque features readily culminating (over the years) in motion with edge more recognizably “modern.” Being a child of the Art Nouveau era, he would, with great panache, link products to that premium upon organic sensibility in the air at that moment, lifting off and away from classical rational stuffy doldrums.

The work shown here, with its treasures of the vineyards, is an instance of being right up his alley!   Continue reading

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NO WONDER THEY’RE EVERYWHERE! VINTAGE GRAPHICS EMBRACING BIRDS

cp_great_lakeshttp://www.idesirevintageposters.com/transportation-canadian-pacific-cruise-across-the-great-lakes-1936.html

Sometimes I feel that, despite birds’ being a common fixture of our world, we’re only beginning to get into a disposition to really appreciate them. It’s true that birdwatchers and the like have been very fond of these creatures for centuries; and they’ve long been cherished as food. But nevertheless, have they been well understood from the perspective of flight?

As the world has turned, the phenomena of motion have begun to take precedence over instances of stasis. (This turn coincides with the advent of lithographic design.) If you settle your gaze on the kind of motion they’re uniquely expert at, then those feathery projectiles become something else again; and that something else puts them way up there, even while so many of them are becoming extinct.

The type of bird shown here is not likely to disappear, being a real survivor. But over and above this, there is its being a masterful flyer, thrillingly overshadowing one of the client’s floating palaces. The carefree plunge of this lively protagonist becomes an ideal of grace, mystery and adventure to which prospective customers would flock!    Continue reading

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THE NORMANDIE: A PARAGON OF ART DECO DESIGN

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Normandie Cover 1935;Paul Iribe;12″x 9 1/2″;Booklet ; 26pp

The architecture of cruise ships comes in many sizes, styles and levels of competence and inspiration. Graphic design master, Paul Iribe (1883-1935), way back in 1934, became so galvanized, despite being close to the end of his life, by the entry of that singular beauty, the Normandie, that he created one of the greatest small-format design gems the world has ever seen.

His promotional project constituted a culmination of the art deco invention happily showering Paris for a couple of decades before, an output for which Iribe was a major player.

Streamline form, breathtaking color and texture and perfect proportions became the magnet attaching him to his commission with singular resolve and inspiration. (Iribes’ being a great furniture designer, lover of fashion icon Coco Chanel and a designer for Hollywood movies in the 1920s constituted other significant factors.)

The image above shows the cover of this substantial booklet. Let’s note right at the outset that the illustrative motif showing the way is an almost astronomical spaciousness.   Continue reading

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PERFECT POISE IN GRAPHIC DESIGN

la-femme-aux-paonshttp://www.idesirevintageposters.com/graphic-design-la-femme-aux-paons-1897.html

There are graphic designs the touch of which is well worth considering in detail. Whereas many artists have developed lithographic nuancing in the form of chromatic gradations and air brushing to create resonant, even mysterious, atmospheres, a few others have chosen to make waves by way of sharply etched, frozen-in-time configurations. Looking closely at how they do it seems to me time well spent.

The American graphic above is a study in composure. Not only that, its mood evokes a weight of alienation from widespread actions. This is a figure and a situation at odds with the haphazard shuffle, due to some recognition that slowing things way down best meets the exigencies of nature itself. Thus the landscape assumes an eerie distribution and an even more eerie coloration. The peacocks accompany another richly pristine creature, not quite of the world in general. Here the revolutionary intuition of Art Nouveau is both deliciously charming and disconcertingly severe.     Continue reading

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An Epochal Transformation within the Covers of a Vintage Magazine

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The long-standing deluxe French magazine, L’Illustration, was wont to pull out the stops in gifting its readers in the Christmas edition a feast for the mind and eyes. The edition of 1923 (consisting of 250 pages) went even farther than that, by rushing into the breach a spate of very advanced (art deco inspired) advertisements drastically countering an illustrated cover and articles still catering to agrarian priorities of a hundred years before!

In the instance above we have a very Parisian and very art deco ad, for a furniture store, by one of the best designers of the golden age of graphics, namely, Rene Vincent. The furniture shown is bold,  laying it onexpansive and geometrically powerful. The women’s clothes are accordingly light as a feather. The women themselves are clearly a breed apart from the dimming Belle Époque. Talk about Christmas being an exciting moment!     Continue reading

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MACHINE AGE POSTER “DINOSAURS” SHOWING LOTS OF LIFE

hermes-leupinhttp://www.idesirevintageposters.com/graphic-design-hermes-c.1950.html

One of the perks included in working with “obsolete” imagery is the bonus of realizing and exploring how its many strengths offer initiatives in our century. Configurations long gone leave a residue we turn away from at our peril, inasmuch as those major design flare-ups comprise depths being antidotes to the widespread vapidity of a wildly self-indulgent consumer market.

No one would want a typewriter in all its fuss to meet the world. But the integrity of structure and chromatic sunshine here can steady the rage for flatness and speedy connection, to include something more than awesomeness, something at a different pitch.     Continue reading

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OBSCURE BUT NOT IRRELEVANT OFFERINGS BY BIG NAMES IN VINTAGE GRAPHIC ART

 

dole-cassandrehttp://www.idesirevintageposters.com/graphic-design-dole-pineapple-1938.html

Sometimes a graphic artist has a creative reason (perhaps more than one) to stay small. There may be a clutch of motives for putting tableau-scale poster work aside; and in this report I’d like to put them in play, because they come to the heart of the artistic payoff of graphic design, particularly that of hands-on work far more common years ago.

More often than not, the desire to produce a less popular attraction (be it about volume, context or both) will be shelved in favor of the urgent matter of making a living. (A remarkable number of vintage posterists were adept at fashion, industrial and spectacle design, therewith adding to the distance from a cherished run of diminutive ephemera.)

Once in a while, however, a client would, perhaps sheepishly, wonder if the artist’s skill would not mind doing something quiet and subtle and not very lucrative, only to discover that the commission comes as a welcome little feast of challenges!

In 1938, that deco Lautrec, A.M. Cassandre, was commissioned to produce a magazine ad for a brand of pineapple juice. In response he created a fusion of Cubist and Surrealist bolts to bring into the picture a singularity unfurling within the rather prosaic vehicle of the mass-circulation journal and the reader more likely looking for diversion than the sizzling divine! But there it is, take it (wisely) or leave it (unwisely)!     Continue reading

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A RAPID CHANGE IN MIDTOWN ARCHITECTURE

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We used to be pretty bored with midtown Toronto architecture and its precious earnestness seeping into everything about the place. We’re delighted to survey here the new mid-town, dropping British constraint and beginning to see the point of shooting skyward. The residue of New York City devolving from this change—unlike the old idolatry regarding London—cares little for New York landmarks, and prefers to introduce its own landmarks, produced in conjunction with architects from all over the world.

The ROM’s dish of badass—if you leave aside the shambles of the delivery of the collection—is, from the street, anyway, not only making a contribution in itself but having an impact on the surround.  Continue reading

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OUR VINTAGE POSTER GALLERY TREASURE TROVE !

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The permanently situated framed vintage posters (for sale) in our entrance-way gallery and the rotating display of unframed vintage posters in our studio combine to provide in a flash (the speed, in fact, posters get going with blowing us away) the kind of communication great designs, almost always in a crowd, thrive upon. Our first three designs, larger than first imagined, by virtue of large frames, play along as a story of seasons–fall, winter, spring/summer, in that order. Moreover, the first two designs pertain to luxury apparel in connection with the season at hand–this being a launch pad, among other things, for meeting the public.    Continue reading

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WHERE THE LIVEWIRES LIVE (IN EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE)!

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At last week’s IDS design show/think-tank/trade day, Norwegian architect, Craig Dykers declared that interior design would be better called “interior architecture.” His reasoning was that the makings of an effective interior involve complex considerations akin to those of architecture as generally understood. Though at first blush this sounds facile, patronizing and wrong-headed, by following the heart of several presentations (including that of Dykers) we come to the exciting jist of how the two disciplines merge.

Dykers’ slide show included the photo above, showing his Snohetta staff on their annual trek to the Norwegian wilds, more specifically the home of Valhalla as pertaining to the Viking energies of their world-wide hunt for treasure. This was, however, not a primarily Ultraman macho test, but instead an exposure to silent kinetic forces at the essence of their métier. In accordance with that navigational foundation, Dykers’ was far from the only voice casting doubt upon academic credentials as adequate for the future of profitable building and designing in the 21st century.      Continue reading

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