From the category archives:

Color

Kitazawa Yoshio, Hamada Masuji, Wantanabe Soshu, Tatsuke Yoichiro, et al. Gendai Shogyo Bijutsu Zenshu.  (“The Complete Commercial Artist”). 24-volume-illustrated series (each vol. approx. 100-150 pp. including plates).  4to.  Wrpps.  Tokyo (Ars) 1927-1930.  (46209)

Over the past five years or so, a loose cadre of visual data miners at blogs including BibliOdyssey, 50 Watts, but does it float, Accidental Mysteries, Agence Eureka, and La Boite Verte (to name but a few) have collectively developed an on-line pictorial archive of inestimable value to artists and graphic designers who wish to renew their powers in the streams of history. [click to continue…]

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Sem (pseudonym for Georges Goursat).  Sem au Bois (title stamped in gilt on front cover).  N.p. (Paris?) ca. 1908.   Signed and dated 29/4/08 in pencil on the last plate; 6 other plates with the artist’s printed insignia.  [45958]

Caricature from “Sem au Bois,” identified by Prof. Pau Medrano Bigas as Jagatjit Singh Bahadur (1872-1949), Maharadjah of Kapurthala State under British Colonial rule.

“And if you happen to be an historian of Belle Epoque Paris (clever you) and recognize anyone among the caricatures, please let us know in the comments field…”

— UPDATE, May 2011:

When first I wrote about Georges “Sem” Goursat’s 1910 leporello Sem au Bois about a year ago, I ended the post with an invitation, asking readers to share any insights they might have as to the real-world identities of the faces caricatured in Sem’s well-heeled crowd of Boulogne woods revelers.

Last week, Pablo Medrano Bigas, Associate Professor of Design and Image at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Universitat de Barcelona answered the call.  Clever him, indeed, and lucky us. Not only has he positively identified several of the processional’s key figures, he’s also supplied a wealth of historical background information to further our understanding the illustration’s form and content.

[click to continue…]

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Sawada, Yozo. Insatsu Taikan (Great Atlas of Printing).  Unpaginated album.  Sm. folio.  Silk-covered boards, tie-bound.  Osaka (Nihon Insatsu Kaisha) 1915.  [46467]

Following the death of his father, the Meiji Emperor, on July 30, 1912, Crown Prince Yoshihito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan to become the Taishō Emperor. After three years of Imperial preparations, Yoshihito’s public coronation took place in November of 1915.  The leaders of industries which had thrived during the Meiji period of modernization wisely turned out to pay tribute to the young monarch.  Proud of their accomplishments during his father’s reign, Japanese printers and publishers marked the occasion with lavish commemorative publications.  Insatsu Taikan—the Great Atlas of Printing—showcases the remarkable quality and innovation of printing in Japan, ca. 1915.

[click to continue…]

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Compositions for Silk Damask & Other Fabrics (homage to Morton Feldman)

Thumbnail image for Compositions for Silk Damask & Other Fabrics (homage to Morton Feldman) February 8, 2011

(Fabric weaving manuscript).- Felix, M. & J. Mercier. Cahier de Théorie 4e Année 3e. N.p. (Lyon?) n.d. (circa 1895). [44915] Though we know little about the person who composed it (“J. Mercier,” seemingly a student in the 4th-year class of  one “Professeur M. Felix”), Cahier de Théorie 4e Année 3e offers a rich window into […]

International Sign Painters of the World, Unite and Take Over.

Thumbnail image for International Sign Painters of the World, Unite and Take Over. August 26, 2010

Arrenbrecht, Wilhelm. Der Schriftenmaler.  Internationales Schriften-Vorlage-Werk. Cologne, ca. 1895.  [46260] Once upon a time, merchants hoping to make a good impression on potential customers didn’t hire graphical user interface consultants, they hired top-flight sign painters.  Elegant hand-painted lettering in a shop window announced to passers-by that the proprietor had class and sophistication.  Based on an […]

The Bois de Boulogne and Sem au Bois: Belle Epoque Paris and the Pageantry of the Passing Spectacle

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1012/4596067321_1c5b7c68e9_t.jpg May 11, 2010

Sem (pseudonym for Georges Goursat).  Sem au Bois (title stamped in gilt on front cover).  N.p. (Paris?) ca. 1908.   Signed and dated 29/4/08 in pencil on the last plate; 6 other plates with the artist’s printed insignia.  [45958] A jewel in the crown of Baron Haussmann’s modernized Paris, the Bois de Boulogne opened as a […]

The Bricklayer’s Art

Depero illustration for Verzocchi trade catalog. March 2, 2010

[futurism] Trade Catalogue.-  Milan.   Società Anonima Giuseppe Verzocchi.  Veni. VD. Vici. Milan (Società Anon. G. Verzocchi) 1924.  [45934] “All I have,” explained Giuseppe Verzocchi in a 1950 interview with Life magazine, “I owe to work. I intend to build a monument to it through art.”  Verzocchi made good on the promise (and then some), commissioning […]

Joseph Urban’s Rainbow City

Thumbnail image for Joseph Urban’s Rainbow City December 9, 2009

(Designs by Joseph Urban.)  Progress in Industrial Color and Protection at “A Century of Progress.” Chicago (American Asphalt Paint Co.)  1933. [45366] Celebrated architect, interior decorator, exhibition designer, illustrator and color theorist Joseph Urban (1872-1933) went out on a high note.  His final project, a commission to oversee an inventive color scheme for The Rainbow […]