Postcard Image

Postcard Image
As the Victorian era passed into the Edwardian and Roaring Twenties, a market developed for bisque and china bawdy novelties and figurines of women in revealing outfits. Although now most of these figurines seem more coy and cute than ribald and risque, in their time they symbolized the casting off of the perceived restraints of the Victorian era.

These little lovelies included bathing beauties, who came clad in swimsuits of real lace or in stylish painted beach wear, as well as mermaids, harem ladies, and nudies, who were meant to wear nothing more than an engaging smile. Also produced were flippers, innocent appearing figurines who reveal a bawdy secret when flipped over, and squirters, figurines that were meant to squirt water out of an appropriate orifice.

Most were manufactured in Germany from the late 1800s through the 1930s, often showing remarkable artistry and imagination, with Japan entering the market during World War I.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pretty as a Pochoir; French Costumes Pour Le Bain

In 1912 in Paris France, two luxury magazines were born, the Journal des Dames et des Modes and the Gazette du Bon Ton. These magazines were aimed at a wealthy, educated, urban, sophisticated, and fashionable clientele. They included stories, travel articles, and poetry, but their focus was on fashion. The magazines were very exclusive and printed in limited quantities. They were brilliantly illustrated by many of the finest Art Deco artists of the period and were not bound, but instead were folders containing original hand-colored prints known as pochoirs. The pochoir print was created by using a series of stencils for applying each different color. Multiple stencils created jewel-like colors and delicate shading. The Journal existed for only two years, but the Gazette was printed, with a break during WWI, from 1912 to 1925.

The elegant illustrations usually featured slim, wealthy, and aristocratic women dressed in the latest luxurious and expensive couture fashions of the day, posed with only the most chic and stylish accessories. Among these fabulous fashion plates there are only a few showing the bathing suits of the period. This early pochoir is by George Barbier, one of the most famous and sought after illustrators of this period. He produced works for both the Journal and Gazette. Entitled Costume de bain, the pochoir is dated 1913 and comes from the short-lived Journal.

Also from 1913, this pochoir, by Pierre Brissaud, is from the June issue of the Gazette. The title translates as "Let's go! Courage!"

This 1921 pochoir is also from the Gazette. By Martin, this stylized study in black and purple is entitled "The Swimming Lesson."

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