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.
This rendering by the Ivy League eminence, Edward Penfield, somewhat puts the breaks on the modern imperative of the time in question. But though the East Coast patricians shown here would hardly ruffle their grandparents, the boy’s intention to follow in Dad’s footsteps does emit energies implying getting on that train and making some waves! (Five years later he could have been headed for the speed bump looming in Europe.
This rococo romp has been stealthily occupied by a degree of circumspection making you sense that the roulette wheel has settled upon an inordinately wild number!
Graphic design adroitly bowing to the distant past while using nuance of apparel and modelling to stir that restlessness which marks the era!
A war-time girl not to be squelched by the War!
Forgetting about the speed bumps all around, this bolt of energy is like clouds suddenly opening to show how fiercely hungry for pertinence at hand those times could prove.
Travel plans, in 1914, about to be postponed. But the necessity of a spare and mysterious grace could not be denied.
Old, old, old, it seems. But Colette, the heart behind that entertainment, was a very special wolf in lamb’s clothing!