Pochoir Venetian Ladieshttp://www.idesirevintageposters.com/pochoir-venetian-ladies-c1920.html

One of the joys of our work with vintage fashion graphics is encountering the assurance and brilliance of many of the major artists of the art deco era. Designers like, Georges Lepape, George Barbier, Andre Marty, Umberto Brunelleschi and Eduardo Benito, seem never to falter in their mission of presenting women at their most graceful moments.

But, through the years, we have occasionally been struck by imagery where the lady does not seem to be at ease in her finery. There is, I believe, a concern (far from mere carelessness) to insinuate a dimension of haute couture usually hidden away but revealing , if pressed, malaise far more modern than the bulk of blissfulness the trade expects.

Our first display of Carnival-in-Venice extravagance shows a rather underwhelming output of preening (in headwear that was a mistake) which exacerbates their not being well-prepared for the occasion, leaving them looking like spoiled children. Hopefully, in other contexts, they might show some poise. But what they’ve shown us, unequivocally, is that legendary experience is not primarily about material wealth.    Continue reading

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Harpers Vertes Dec,1943http://www.idesirevintageposters.com/artistic-magazines-harpers-bazaar-december-1943.html

Long before there was Cyber Monday there was the more direct World War II, presenting, among other things, a weighty Christmas shopping dilemma. Wrapped up in the glorious Christmas shopping number seen above, we bring to you here (with its surreal Christmas tree by by that same Marcel Vertes who oversaw the visuals and won a couple of Oscars in connection with John Huston’s film, Moulin Rouge [1952]), a true feast of struggle to make merry at death’s door.

In this season when designer Tom Ford has cropped up in the capacity of an auteur, with his Nocturnal Animals, the many forerunners in our pages here, of inflected celebration, give us their own incisive take on the nocturnal. Continue reading

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When I, in the 1990’s first encountered the Pere Castor stories (primarily from the 1930s), it was the illustrative and lithographic strengths which enchanted me. Then, on getting down to the French texts, I was delighted anew by the deft and delicate portrayal of wild animals embodying loving gratitude, brave sacrifice and endurance.

In recent years I’ve become aware (thanks to my good friend and fascinating connoisseur of the arts, Sam Juliano) of  the many beautiful children’s illustrated books in the running for the prestigious Caldecott Medal, presented in January each year. To my great surprise I find that many of the writers and illustrators often approach their wide-ranging subjects with a passionate care for the possibilities of grace and the rich fleetingness of life.

There are of course differences of nuance between the widespread eras; but it is to me a matter of good cheer that those long ago French instances of panache and daring have been maintained in our times of  conspicuous attention  to technology and conspicuous carelessness about serious reflection

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For this 250th poster design blog we’ve chosen a subject having been part of a recently reasserted lifestyle, namely, working with their hands, especially farming. This is a change of pace for us (and why not, on a special occasion) for a metier infatuated with the chic and the trendy.

But, on the other hand, we must add that the lively center of vintage lithographic poster production had, from its inception with not terribly academic figures like Toulouse-Lautrec, been–over and above turning a buck–very pleased to catch the public’s eye with products and services rendered as hallmarks of history getting less and less ascetic and stodgy. The step needed now is to convey the fact that seemingly hard-core conventional rural life carries a premium on the earthy which has a secret energy seldom articulated and carried to regions of discernment amazingly coinciding with the precious Parisiennes tearing things up in composition and chromatic pop in vintage poster art.

Our first vintage poster illustration of the matter of working with one’s whole body shows a composite of outdoor-workers alert to the higher things! Continue reading

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We live in an age when invention has never been more abundant and thrilling. Arts and science-based inventions carry us to seemingly vast improvements over the way it used to be.

Egged on by a sensation-cued media, we are all susceptible to involvement in cool and risky business as feeding a vague need to rise above that banality which so readily drags us down. Thus, the flat-out personal consumption and large-scale, nature-damaging factors of this adventure generally come to light as a manageable minus-side of an irresistible plus-side.

Our cleverness not being amenable to the possibility that most of our excitements are overrated and a pathetic excuse for cogent intensity, there is an inadequate commitment to curtailing the despoliation of the environment. As a result, in the past twenty or so years huge numbers of wild animals have been killed, with many species entirely wiped out or reduced to the point of endangerment to total disappearance.

That disconcerting history comprises the irony of vintage graphic designs promoting travel to countries no longer the treasure-trove of wildlife they once could celebrate and profit from. Exotica still obtains–the porn trade, for instance, never more lucrative–but the gift of real wildness has largely disappeared. Our first such blue-chip promotion deals–from the perspective of the present, delusionally–with the once-abundant and breathtakingly gorgeous red-crowned crane, not that long ago very numerous in Japan, Korea and China; but now down to about 2500. Continue reading

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The way we work for a living transmits much about the historical moment and possibilities of fruitful interaction.

The team-work depicted photographically in our first vintage poster is about treating others royally to ensure market share. But it is also about hospitality workers rising to an occasion that rewards them beyond a paycheck.The military precision of this highlight of the flight conveys everyday pleasures being delivered in safe and sound circumstances despite the airline zoom.  Continue reading

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img_2912Sometimes vacation travel carries us farther than we expect. Our visit to Cape Breton began with the village of Baddeck which overlooks the estate of Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) and counts among its many folksy attractions the in fact remarkably non-folksy museum displaying the “inventions” of a notable who looked a bit like Santa Claus but became absorbed with uber-reality.

Following in the footsteps of the family business of elocution and caring for the deaf, our sage was able to knock it up several notches by way of coming across a set of designs about the transmission of sound. The author of that windfall, Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894), had hitched his star to the thrust of reflection, rampant in nineteenth century German Idealist circles, whereby the sense of language (communicative waves) originates in a field far outstripping (but not obviating) specific sensibilities. As we take note of the amazing range of constructs stemming from the think tank at Baddeck during the last 40 years of Bell’s life, it is that paradoxical marshalling of infrastructure which acts as a compass guiding the mystifying output and very much in league with avant-garde physics and avant-garde metaphysics.  Continue reading

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There are myriad ways, in the field of vintage graphic design, to put one’s best foot forward for the sake of seducing the world to buy or subscribe to a product or service. Fine and/or startling modeling of a depicted booster is one of them. Alongside of that are factors of coloration, composition and lithographic deliciousness.
Today let’s consider one approach which could be deployed in a rather thoughtless way; but in fact has often incited designers to thrilling subtlety—namely, focusing in on the goods as if they were spotlighted.
Our first instance adopts an astronomical disposition to bring focus to a small part of the world revealing itself to be hugely consequential. Film festivals are never reluctant to show off. But the very elegant pinpointing here demonstrates the blue-chip wit and heart in store.

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After years of sustaining a series of vintage design displays, we’re returning to the first instance (posted back on November 4,2014). But here we’re not about the witty and dazzling deco cover and the fascinating, quirky business concerns (such as an ad promoting tenancy in the just-completed Empire State Building); but instead a “filler” insert of pastel renderings of Alabama steel mills, by a long-forgotten artist/ designer, Roderick Mackenzie (1865-1941). Over and above the five remarkable, large-scale litho renditions acting as a speed bump to busy wheeler-dealers, we find the artist himself, and his highs and lows, to be a rich disclosure of vicissitudes of the career of an artist in early modern secular society.

Our first instance, “Three Bessemer Converters,” reminds us of the play of light and texture to be seen in the marine paintings of William Turner (1775-1851). Here the dynamics of light derive from fiery industrial processes rather than the earlier strategy involving sunlight, ocean and water crafts.   Continue reading

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“Place Your Bets, Make Your Play” Graphic Art Takes a Flyer on Gambling!!!

Pochoir Bancohttp://www.idesirevintageposters.com/pochoir-banco-1922-gbt.html

The affinities between vintage illustrative art and the multifaceted business of gambling boil down to the volatility of the practise of eking out a living against severe odds. Turning a decent buck or franc from going to the heart of excitement especially pertains to a shot of daring not common at all. Therefore the sky’s the limit in celebrating this wild and wonderful world! Of the many graphic designs depicting various casinos, racetracks, lottery posts etc, a constant is the high level of well-being in the players and the beauty and liveliness of the venues. (Of course there are disasters along this form of skyrocketing. But the priority in this field is to show the poise and wonderment of the risk-takers and their territory.)

So we begin with a wealthy player, playing a game, Banco, which the House totally stage-manages. The faint presence of the graphic quality captures the abstraction of the seeker who is very remote from us and from everyone. There is an aura of mystery about someone so attracted to a kind of disappearance.  Continue reading

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