SPEAKING OF PICTURES: A VINTAGE GRAPHICS BLOG

APPRECIATING SOME OF OUR  BEST !

We’re rounding out the year of design blogs with a fond farewell to some vintage graphics sold in 2015. They’re a varied array; but each has a kick all its own!

diana_park

http://www.idesirevintageposters.com/travel.html

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PEPPY AND WONDERFUL VANTAGE POINTS IN VINTAGE GRAPHIC ART

philips_cat

Graphic designers (even today) live to light a fire under the viewer, in hopes that the attractiveness and excitement of the evocation will create an irresistible demand for a specific product or service and that the irresistibility will lift the client to a new effervescence. (A designer as establishing many such coups comes to be less anonymous and adds to the enjoyment of the lithographic artistry.)

Here we have rather sharp drama in the perspective, and as joined by light humor in the figuration. The product (shown almost parenthetically) does not appear in the central design as such. What we get is a maximum-capacity drama of the mundane product. And the point of view leads the way!   Continue reading

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 CROWD SCENES IN LITHOGRAPHIC DESIGNS—HOW DO THEY MANAGE?

pochoir card 5

A number of human figures in a design can accomplish wonders of dynamic intensity and incremental nuance. Whereas most vintage posters and illustrations depend heavily upon an arresting central feature (more often than not an attractive woman), the arrangements we want to explore here become all the more special for being quite rare.

The pochoir Christmas card from 1920 constituting our screen cap here seems to ally itself with theatre staging to produce a sense of an occasion touching everyone in a region. The narrowness of the avenue accentuates the flamboyant and beautiful women’s coats. And in the course of this promenade we have a vignette of a couple paying a visit to a resident. Thereby the anonymity of city life has been primed to a degree of noteworthy solicitude for strangers. There is also (as a sort of topspin to the social buzz) a process of enhancing chromatically a rather austere streetscape.

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INSPIRED BY FURS–A PARIS GRAPHIC REVERIE 103 YEARS OLD!

leroy-fourreurs-drian

Claude Courtet, a true Paris gentleman and discerning expert on the City’s graphic splendors, was always a highlight of our searches across the ocean. One of the treasures from his shop near Moufftard, a centre of chic on paper now sadly gone, is the center of today’s engagement with those endeavors to bring topspins of sensibility to an effective visibility.

The subject of furs–like that of cigarettes–has become a repellent to many of us. But, as with smoking promotions, the visual power of enthusing about furs offers a still-potent means of appreciating the texture, pattern, color and attitude which we can’t afford to ignore (though we might be impelled by it to find comparable areas of stimulation).

Claude’s  comprehensive attentions to the greatest lithographic concern of the Belle Epoque and Art Deco eras, namely, Draeger Freres, came upon the smashing hard-cover portfolio, Fourrures Portraits Miniatures,  Edite Par Leroy  & Schmid Fourrures  Max, Place de la Bourse, Paris (1912; 20 pp.). This work fanfares its dazzling illustrations by way of three vignettes speaking to: 1) a connoisseur of furs who lives for October and the exposure of his collection by placing it about his flat; 2) a reverie upon winter as the golden moment for the ascendancy of furs; and 3) the special bond to furs by a doomed aristocracy in 18th century France.

The first of our bountiful strikes with bountiful dimensions, by Drian, situates the beauty of the wilds in the foyer of an opera house or theatre or concert hall where hopefully the wildness onstage will not be upstaged by the raiment!

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SPLENDID ANONYMITY–VINTAGE POSTER GEMS MINUS THE ARTIST’S NAME

Picture 1105

Virtuoso artists tend to leave their calling cards. The waves they make are generally very traceable to a specific source–themselves. Often the personality involved becomes an integral part of the impact of the work. The economics as well as the ego of craftsmanship would seem to call for that high profile.

In the trade of vintage poster art, however, it was often advantageous not to sign a tableau. Most of the most productive posterists were under contract to produce the works of a specific publishing firm and thereby they were forced to forego working for another publisher. Many of them got around that constriction by leaving their (illegal) works for printers, other than those paying them premiums for staying in line, without a suable name. (Another ruse was to use a string of pseudonyms.)

As we’ll proceed to show, there was nothing second rate about much of the poster output missing a creator’s name. Our first instance is not only fabulously composed and colored; but it shows a vigorous talent for propaganda, if not fascinating, historically arresting jingoism. It’s the era of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, and the imperial imperative is at full tide.   Continue reading

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JOYS OF DINING AS SEEN BY VINTAGE GRAPHIC ART

la _framboisette

A priority that rocks across the board is the enjoyment of food and drinks. A variation on that theme is being transported by a sterling restaurant. So much more than satisfying fare is entailed in a successful commercial dining experience. And consideration of those other fascinating currents is what we really want to explore here along lines of alert graphic design (which has, come to think of it, an affinity to alert restaurant design).

We begin with a captivating moment wherein a lady on an excursion by train cannot resist prolonging a brief stopover, after seeing that the venue includes an antidote to a crowded, confined, perhaps noisy vehicle. She’d rather be having a nice beverage in a congenial room designed to lift one to a higher plane.

 

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THE TEENS (1910-1920), CAPTURED IN GRAPHIC ART

Pochoir Skiers

The period of time stretching from 1910 to 1920 is remarkable for its enduring a devastation, or at least a huge arrest, of the excitements of omnipresent change. Most of the major departures from conventional rational life–in scientific and philosophical thought, the arts and design–were bubbling by that time. A priority of uncluttered, lithe and startling forces and structures was in the air. But also gaining ground were stolid resentments and material treasure hunts going back to Spanish galleons and even to the Dark Ages. The most deadly, widespread war of all the conflicts up to that moment asserted a hegemony of panic and simplism, against which pacesetters and the young at heart had to steel themselves.

Graphic art was a foremost means of attractively inducing and maintaining an imperative to change soon and change much. Our first (pochoir) image gives us all the priorities mentioned above and also perhaps the most thrilling and far reaching game-changer, uncanny motion. Motion daring to challenge dead weight. Notice how up-to-our-minutes the sense of clean lines (streamlines) takes charge here.   Continue reading

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THE YIN AND THE YANG OF VINTAGE POSTER ART!

proton

We’re bullish on a new movie just arrived in town, namely, Hou Hsiao Hsien’s The Assassin! The star/ protagonist is named Yinniang and her story is all about Yin and Yang. Being a professional killer you’d have to say she’s somehow bulked up with Yang–that mover and shaker fuel. But her story is all about having it both ways–Yin (openness to wider energies) being very much a part of her make-up.

As it happens the world of vintage graphics seriously deals with (though not in as many words) Yin, Yang–and their blends. I thought it would be interesting to attend to those items in our collection running with the keynotes; and those items running with the syntheses.

Plenty of Yin in this fabulous promotion (by the very special Marcello Dudovich) for a skin cream putting one very close to Mother Nature.   Continue reading

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THAT 1940s LOOK AND HEART!

Vogue Nov 15, 1939

The 1940s brought to light, as with earlier decades and epochs, wonders of invention and tantalizing glimpses of sensibility teetering upon really breaking loose. Perhaps because that moment of the forties came to be pummelled by war of unprecedented ferocity and regrouping of unprecedented complexity, its purchase upon a new world took on special dark, ironic and ardent qualities. Therefore, in our little survey of the time as shown by vintage graphic design an overriding question will be, “Did that distressed period derive special traction in its participating in the ongoing drama of the new?”

Surrounded by a whimsical accessory and a slate of routes–débutantes; New York Season–rushing to conjure away debilitating fears, this iconic figure by the ever-alert Eric pulls herself together to the point of clear-eyed engagement with a world of rampant hostility. Her jungle cat garment helps convey the situation of one’s time left being acutely delicious and dramatic.    Continue reading

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WEEGEE–FILLING OUT BOTH SIDES OF GRAPHIC DISCOVERY

weegee_simply_add_boiling_water_1937_d5479224h

bally-lotus-valentine

By great good fortune we have, this very week, started to come to grips with Bernard Villemot (1911-1989), in accordance with our Poster of the Month for November, one of the most patrician graphic designers; and Arthur Fellig (stumbled upon by us at the Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto), better known as Weegee (1899-1968), one of the most plebeian figures in the field of mass marketing. Whereas Villemot was a master of gracious handsomeness and beauty (wafting us away from our doldrums and toward ethereal heights), Weegee, a New York tabloid photographer in the 1930s and 1940s, was equally effective (in the course of marketing his own unique skills) in confronting us with an aspect we need to take into account, namely, the dark and ugly side of life.

Notice the piquant irony of the first photo, “Simply Add Boiling Water.” Not one, but two, points of of signage (the second being “Hygrade Frankfurters”) add a special glint to the scene, in turn grotty and glorious.   Continue reading

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