Saturday, July 12, 2014
ART NOUVEAU POSTCARDS
This post shows a variety of Art Nouveau postcards. The Art Nouveau period flourished from the 1880s until the First World War. Nature served as inspiration, with flowers, leaves and curving, swirling lines creating elegant designs in architecture, on furniture, artwork and in the graphic arts. Different artists interpreted the style in their individual ways, as can be seen by the first two postcards in our post. Above, we see blossoms bordering a spare design by Henri Meunier. His ladies are displayed on solid color backgrounds. Below is a lady among purple and white lilacs by Jack Abeille, who created a series of women with different types of flowers, each labeled with the flower's name.
I've had the postcard below in my collection for a long time without knowing about the artist, whose name, Victor Mignot, I found in the 1977 book by Alain Weill shown below. In the book, I learned that the artist had designed advertising posters for bicycles, and that this series of his postcards is "devoted to sport." This large format paperback book is a useful guide to a selection of Art Nouveau postcards. The postcards are shown in large color illustrations with brief descriptions of the artists.
Here is a fashionable lady with striped shoes signed by Gaston Noury, who has an easy-to-identify signature. An elaborate design with an unusually subtle palette.
A different sort of design can be seen above with a wide border at the bottom by Kempf, from a series published by Tuck.
You may be familiar with additional well-known Art Nouveau artists, such as Mucha, Kirchner and Combaz. While the popular and expensive work of these artists falls in the "investment" category, you may want to enjoy Art Nouveau designs that cost less.
You can seek out fine images without famous artists' names.. One postcard in my collection displays all the classical elements of Art Nouveau design - a beautiful woman enjoying roses in the garden. This is a divided-back flat postcard and has printed on the back: "The Ellanbee" Nouveau Art Series No. 105 Printed in Austria.
The risque postcard below shows a woman in a dramatic low-cut gown and a fanciful hat. The circle in the background has gold added - an outstanding image on a flat undivided back postcard. On the back the only indication of its origin is "Germany".
The woman with swirling garments carrying wheat above is one of a Stroefer-published series of the seasons. She is SUMMER.
This gorgeous postcard of a dark-haired woman in red has gold highlights applied throughout the design. It is a German-published postcard, postmarked 1903, with no publisher provided.
Art Nouveau designs also appear in more contemporary art. One example is the colorful poster-postcards that advertised bands performing in San Francisco at Bill Graham's venues in the 1960s/1970s.