In France, during the art deco era (1910-1939), there was an amazing output of lithographically illustrated books. A great example of this treasure is the grand format (20″ x 15 1/2″)    accompaniment, by Milivoj Uzelac, for a limited edition of “20 Chansons [Songs, Poems],” by Albert Willemetz, dating from 1933, which we are so happy to possess (instance 194/350) and share with you.
The text  (“en douce”— “with gentleness”), for the first plate, runs, “…I was born I don’t know how. I didn’t know my mama…”
Willemetze’s program is suffused with the dark side of the City of Light (Paris). But it is—a bit like the dark side of Charlotte in the recent film, The Paperboy—a process of “bad taste” being at the same time “good faith.” The aura of fecund gentleness is well captured by the supernal features of the lithos.
“Raymonde” depicts prostitution, but with a jaunty chic, to match the girl’s tam.

La Java Club.

“If I only knew” concerns drug addiction as well as prostitution. A sad song, and at the same time radiant in its homage to aspirations in bad taste but struggling to do justice to the liveliness of life.

The line, “Haven’t we met somewhere before?” is given a volly of cheeky replies, beginning with, “Isn’t your grandmother a cyclist?”

“C’est la vie, dress, undress…”
We’ll continue with this brilliant and captivating suite, next Monday.

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