October 25, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Real, Inspired and Allegorical Figures in Poster Art
Poster art often features the human figure. In many cases, the figure is solely an illustration conjured from the imagination of the artist.
In some instances, the figure is modeled after a real person such as in The Lefevre-Utile ‘LU’ Biscuits poster by David Lance Goines. This image was inspired by Ginger LeFevre, a descendant of the famous cookie family, and Goines shows the little girl reaching for a cookie jar. Likewise, Firmin Bouisset, used his children as models for many of his posters.
Sometimes posters feature allegorical figures. Like the advertising posters which came before them, posters from the First World War were designed to motivate the viewer to enlist in the army, or to buy a war bond. They also had a secondary imperative: to inspire the viewer. In fact, in the United States, posters were part of a campaign of salesmanship to get the American public behind the war. American Posters used figures like Uncle Sam, Columbia, and Lady Liberty allegorically. French Bond Posters used Marianne.
Marianne is the personification of the Republique Francaise and a symbol of liberty and freedom. Images of Marianne first appear in 1775 and depict her standing, young and determined, sometimes bare breasted as she leads soldiers into battle. Her image is allegorical, and is inspired by another allegorical figure, that of Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom and war.
The figure was used on the French postage stamp in 1849, and also on the franc. Today she appears on the French Euro coin. We encounter Marianne occasionally in the advertising poster.
She is, however, best enjoyed in the poster in French World War One Bond and Reconstruction posters.
In this poster, created early in the war, a fierce Marianne flies over a battlefield littered with dead soldiers. Behind her, soldiers march triumphantly. After one and a half years of brutal battles and many losses, France needed such imagery to stay the course.
This reconstruction poster by Rene Lelong features Marianne in red wearing laurels of victory. She smites a battleaxe turning her blade in for a plough. The poster is populated with a blacksmith, a teacher, and a farmer, suggesting that France will enjoy a renaissance in construction, culture, and agriculture when the bond is sold successfully.
This beautiful and peaceful image by Lt. Jean Droit shows Marianne steering a boat, representing commerce, import, and export, through calm waters. In this image, she wears the Phrygian cap, an ancient symbol of freedom and liberty, which is a typical feature of her garb.
If you visit Paris, keep an eye out for Marianne. If you know what to look for, you will no doubt spot her. Here she is at Place de Nation in Paris.
This noble Marianne statue was created by Aime Jules Dalou in 1899, and it is a strong image of history and inspiration. Although Marianne never lived, her iconic image has left an imprint in France for over a period of almost 225 years. We feel we know her, we feel we have seen her before, and that we can relate to her. I guess that is exactly what a good allegory is designed to do.
This post was written by Elizabeth Norris, Owner Vintage European Posters and edited by Emily Jackson, UC Berkeley Art History Student and Gallery Assistant, www.vepca.com
Vintage European Posters was established in 1997. We are the West Coast’s Largest Dealer in Original Vintage Posters from France and the United States. See us online anytime at www.vepca.com and at our Berkeley Showroom OUTPOST 2201 Fourth Street, Tuesdays and Thursdays
As well as at pop up open weekends (sign our mailing list to receive updates about pop-ups)
We will be exhibiting our posters at the Fall Hillsborough Antiques Show November 2-4
August 24, 2012 § 1 Comment
The greatest thing about collecting original posters is how much we get to learn about 19th and 20th century history just by soaking up these colorful collectibles. I recently found a Menthe Pastille poster by Eugene Oge which struck me as just such an opportunity to learn more about the period leading up to World War I. It is uncommon for a poster artisit to uses political humour in an advertising poster—politics can be too controversial, and might alienate the consumer from a brand, but in this example, Oge does a great job creating caricatures of the world’s leaders.
The poster from 1904 shows a total of 13 figures, each representing something different and interacting together to show political situations in Europe. They sit at a table with a tablecloth decorated with the large text of “La Menthe-Pastille.” All the figures look as if they are in peaceful talks with each other. On the left, Oge depicts William II serving a drink to the Japanese Emperor, Matsuhito. In the foreground, the Emperor of France is being comforted about his inability to produce a male heir. The Japanese Emperor stands behind the Emperor of France, even though they are enemies, but the Emperor of France does not seem concerned. In the middle of the table, the newly chosen Catholic Pope puts his arm around King Emmanuel III of Rome. Next to King Emmanuel III on the right is Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom, who smokes and gazes at the globe that the man on his right, Jacques Lebaudy, gazes at as well. Behind those two figures is Leopold II of Belguim at an image of his “muse” Cleo de Merode. Next, to the right, is Alfonso XIII who sits regally, wearing his crown, as he recently was coronated King of Spain. Lastly, below him sits Uncle Sam with a small African American baby on his lap.
In the 1913 poster, the figures are fewer, and some major players in the European situation are either out of power or not longer alive. Only 10 people now populate the poster. **Those missing are Emile Loubet, the French Emperor, and two people who had since died: Edward VII and Leopold II. The situation is much more tense here, and inflammatory situations are shown here that La Menthe-Pastille, William II tries to become allies with the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet V. In the center of the poster, the Kaiser Frederic William, plays with three small childlike figures who represent the Kings of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece. This poster again tells people to drink La Menthe Pastille to inject tranquility and ease into their lives, but in 1913, the statement is more adamant.
* Eugene Oge: Affichiste , Anne-Claude Lelieur et Raymond Bachollet, published 1998 by Agence Culturelle de Paris. p. 214-215)
** Eugene Oge: Affichiste , Anne-Claude Lelieur et Raymond Bachollet, published 1998 by Agence Culturelle de Paris.pages 224-225)
This post was written by Karlie Drutz, San Francisco State Museum Studies Student and VEP intern and Elizabeth Norris, Owner, Vintage European Posters.
See our entire collection of original vintage posters from Europe and the United States at www.vepca.com or visit us on Tuesdays or by appointment at our Berkeley Showroom 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley, CA
August 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Everyone thinks that buying posters in France is super sexy. I hate to disavow poster fans, but it’s rarely pretty business. What I find is usually really exciting, but actually getting to the goods can be dirty, dangerous, and always involves some risk.
In order to make the best of any situation, I have always tried to live like the French, and have a long lunch. Work hard in the morning, sit down for 2 hours and read the menu with care, eat things which are hard to find in the states, and then go back to work until 7 or 8.
On the last trip, I managed to try some really unusual foods. My first good meal was octopus salad and a bottle of Rose. It is really hot in the summer, and hot weather demands Rose wine.
After 4 days of work, I caught the train to Bordeaux for a much needed vacation with my family. A friend loaned us their beautiful beach house, and using it as a base, we were able to explore Cap Ferret, Ares, Andernos and the City of Bordeaux. Apparently, in this region, oysters are always served with tiny sausages as a garnish. Here are the oysters at L’Escale restaurant in Cap Ferret.
Children of course, can be picky eaters. Luckily the French do a bang -up job with French Fries, although I’m told that French Fries were actually invented by the Belgians. Here is my son eating French Fries in Cap Ferret. I must point out that while I don’t have a photo of my French nephew at dinner, that what they say about French kids and food is absolutely true- they are adventurous eaters with good taste. While my son had fries, his cousin, aged 12 ordered prosciutto with melon and duck breast for his meal.
The other thing that really rocks in France is lardons. We don’t have these here. We have bacon and we have pancetta. I guess pancetta is the closest thing to lardons, but it doesn’t really crisp up the way lardons do. Lardons are a bacon-y morsel, sold pre cut into little baton shapes in plastic packages, very cheap, very fast to cook and absolutely delicious. Because of lardons, we made pasta carbonara for our kids many nights, although strangely enough, this didn’t stop them from ordering this rich, creamy pasta in restaurants as well. Here is my son eating spaghetti carbonara in Andernos.
Another real treat in France is Moules Frites. Mussels, cooked in white wine with shallots, and served with a big bowl of French Fries. This is considered the working man’s lunch, it’s delicious, and it’s usually very cheap- about 10 Euros. It’s always big enough to share!
Next week, August 23-26 we are excited about our 14th Annual Preview Show. The event will be catered by Grace Street Catering. Last year, I worked with Grace Street owner Erin McKinney, describing the foods I had tried in Provence, and he created a mouthwatering menu designed to bring our clients a fast of the South of France. This year, I wrote to him as I tried new and unusual foods in Bordeaux and in Paris, and once again, Erin has dreamed up a divine menu, designed to transport you to France. Grace Street’s Menu will be published in the next blog post.
Vintage European Posters
2201 Fourth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
510 843 2201
A trip to France is never complete without moules frites. This is considered the working man’s lunch- mussels cooked in white wine with shallots, and served with their broth, and a bowl of french fries. It’s a very cheap lunch, and yet it is always unforgettable.
April 19, 2012 § Leave a Comment
VINTAGE EUROPEAN POSTERS
Original Posters From 1880 To 1960
Member, International Vintage Poster Dealers Association
2201 Fourth Street
Berkeley, California 94710
ABOUT VINTAGE POSTERS
Original Posters have been collected for more than a century. Since their inception in the 1860s, the public has adored these eye-catching graphics and competed to own them. Early poster aficionados pulled posters from outdoor walls, read poster collecting magazines, and attended gallery exhibitions of poster art.
Today, if you develop a taste for original posters, you must search to find the ones you love. Spend time with a knowledgable dealer to gain an understanding of the historical and cultural context of posters. Buy what you love and you will be happy with your collection for years to come.
WHAT IS A VINTAGE POSTER?
Original posters were printed for advertising purposes. They were printed in the same time period in which they were designed. Posters were printed on cheap paper and not expected to last.
Because the posters are fragile, we have them linen backed. This is a conservation process. The posters are washed to deacidify the paper and wet mounted onto a fabric backing. This process is recommended by museums and is water reversible.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
We have been in the business of buying and selling original vintage posters since 1997.
Today, we operate a showroom in Berkeley, where we offer custom framing, linen backing, and host special events. Our entire inventory of original posters can be viewed at pop-up weekends and by appointment.
You can also see us at select shows in Los Angeles, Healdsburg and the SF Peninsula. Sign our mailing list to receive our newsletter, and invitations to special events in your area.
Our website vepca.com is updated weekly. Everything on our website is available and ships within 2 business days.
-Elizabeth Norris, Owner
Geek out with our blog: vepca.wordpress.com