En route pour la Suisse 1935;Herbert Matter;40″ x 25″; B+, L
When we began to search for and sell vintage posters we were adamantly opposed to photography getting a look-in. So thrilled were we with the fabulous roster of illustrators we had just encountered, we couldn’t see mere verisimilitude as in the same league at all. But as the years went by, we encountered photographic imagery that led to the same magic universe comprising blue-chip illustration. (Now we especially keep close track of the annual Contact Photo Festival which spreads forth in many locales in the heart of Toronto.)
Here we have the always superb Herbert Matter’s discovery and spot on perspective upon a dour and canny Switzerland being as at heart, an uncanny charmer. The sharp focus upon those bricks and snowy crags gives us a lesson on austere optics having a wild side. The roadway is, or should be, in itself, one of the Wonders of the World!
Ski in Canada c.1940;Anonymous;36″ x 24″; A-,L
Another wintry moment being an otherworldly surprise! The capacity of photography–even back in 1940–to allow montage has brought to a normal girl a crazily steep slope and some unnerving visitors. An upshot of this composition and texturing is the endowment of the vignette to seem timeless.
Sports d’Hiver en France 1935;Andre Giroux;39 3/4″ x 24″;A-,L
Montage, wherein the black and white photo of the inert locomotive adds, by contrast, to the dynamic poetry of the illustrated events. Here photography is ideal for evoking that mysterious gulf within existence.
Fly TCA to Montreal 1953;Anonymous; 29” x 19 ½”;A, P
Back in 1953 there had to be a reason for depicting the then-dicey-metropolis of Canada as a forest. What holds our attention is the stolid architecture, as locked into itself as the landscape. Another form of two solitudes, leading to endless perusal!
Fly TCA Canada Opportunities Unlimited 1953;Anonymous;29” x 19 ½”;A, P
You’d have a hard time putting out so cogent an Edward Hopper-era blend of rawness and whimsy in any other medium than aerial photography.
Fly TCA to Ottawa 1953;Anonymous;29” x 19 ½”;A, P
Again, aerial photography capturing so well something we could easily miss, especially in the bilingual era–namely, how spiffily British the Nation’s Capital is from the point of view of urban design and architecture!
Grande Bretagne Expo 67;Mount/Evans;30” x 20”; A, P
This photo-montage leverages the resource of the camera to freeze action in order to emphasize that the subject wants to be known as intellectual. Geeks were different then; and that realization forms the basis of this work’s validity as a graphic revelation.
Britain in Montreal Expo 67;Mount/Evans;30” x 20”; A, P
Using the photo-form of the British Expo tower, this work–again a wake-up, of sorts–gives us Darth Vader’s house and the punchy calling-card, “Britain in Montreal”!
Blue Velvet 1986;Anonymous;21 ¾” x 14 ½”; A-, P, folded
There is nothing like a great actress’ face in the spirit of the work to elicit the endless field of discovery a great film brings to us. Those textures, compositional elements and chromatic powers could be (somewhat) staged by illustration. But to get at the guts of this artistry you need inspired camera-work like this.
Melancholia/3 principal actors 2011;Anonymous;40 ½”x 28 ½”; A-, P
Here again, the real players have to be seen within the evocation of the ominous assault upon them. Their mundane quality plays in effective juxtaposition with the utterly strange astronomical figures.
Ladies’ Home Journal Dec. 1941;Anonymous;27 3/4″ x 21 1/2″; A-,L
I love how the photo aspect of the child here feels so ponderous in juxtaposition with the sublime wooden horse and the little spikes of the peripheral elements of the cover design.
Vitrail (Stained Glass Window) 1928;Louis Barillet;11 1/2″ x 8 3/4″;A,P, litho, pl.7
Paris 1928; Librairie des Arts Decoratifs
The photographic rendering of a stained glass window here captures the art deco forms and (tenuous) colors with great precision while at the same time allowing greater lightness of touch to obtrude, freeing the work along a somewhat different dynamic trajectory.