Category Archives: prints and drawings

prints and drawings

The Moroccan Acrobats

A talented gymnast and acrobat, the Puerto Rican artist Lorenzo Homar (1913-2004) often designed prints and posters inspired by his love of sports. He moved to New York City as a teenager, studying at the Art Students League (1930) and at the Pratt Institute (1939), while also practicing gymnastics at the local YMCA.

On his return to Puerto Rico in 1950, Homar co-founded the Centro de Arte Puertorriqueño (Center for Puerto Rican Art) and from 1951 to 1956 he worked as a graphic artist and director of the Graphics Section of Division de Educación a la Comunidad (DivEdCo). This period culminated with Homar winning a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1956.

On October 15, 1956, the New York Times reported “Guggenheim fund makes 28 grants, scholars and artists from the Philippines and Latin America get $113,000.” The article continues “The awards announced yesterday are being made to persons who ‘already have proven themselves to be of the highest ability,’ they are made ‘to scholars carrying on research in any field of knowledge and to artists in any branch of the arts’.” The only award given in “Creative arts” was to Lorenzo Homar. This led the following year to his organizing a Taller de Gráfica (Graphic Arts Workshop) at the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, which he directed until 1973.

 

In 1958, Homar went to Mexico City with the delegation of Puerto Rican artists who took part in the I Bienal Interamericana de Pintura y Grabado [1st Inter-American Biennial of Painting and Prints]. In Mexico City they were feted by the Taller de Gráfica Popular [People’s Print Workshop] (TGP). This was where Homar met Leopoldo Méndez, Mariana Yampolsky, Arturo García Bustos, and Beltrán, among others. [read more:
https://icaadocs.mfah.org/icaadocs/THEARCHIVE/FullRecord/tabid/88/doc/861827/language/en-US/Default.aspx] It may also have been where he saw Moroccan acrobats.

 

His linocut, Acróbata Marroquí (Moroccan Acrobats), from that year is often seen as a whirling abstraction but in fact, it is a depiction of three professional acrobats in action. One biographical article mentions Homar’s participation in the 1930s in a group called the Columbia Trio, which presented displays of acrobatics and balance. Perhaps his training and personal experience helped in the design of this scene, which places the hands and legs in perfect position for these movements.

Lorenzo Homar (1913-2004), Acróbata Marroquí (Moroccan Acrobats), 1958. Linocut. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2007.04003.

Pindar (about 522-438 B.C.E.)

Angelo Campanella (ca. 1748–ca. 1815), after Luigi Agricola (1759-1821), after Raphael (1483-1520), Pindaro poeta greco, ca. 1793-1860. Engraving (framed). Detail from the Parnassus in the stanza della Segnatura, after Raphael [below]. Engraved text: “Uno dei più celebri per la gravità… l’Era volgare.”
1. Apollo 2. Calliope 3. Polymnia 4. Clio 5. Erato 6. Terpsichore 7. Euterpe 8. Thalia 9. Urania 10. Melpomene 11. Unknown 12. Virgil 13. Homer 14. Dante 15. Scribe 16. Berni 17. Petrarch 18. Corinna 19. Alcæus 20. Sappho 21. Plautus 22. Terence 23. Ovid 24. Sannazzaro 25. Cornelius Gallus 26. Anacreon 27. Horace 28. Pindar [bottom right]

Here is a sneak preview from a collection focused on the Greek poet Pindar. Just a few pieces to enjoy while the ink is drying on the paperwork.

The Perseus Project posted an English translation of Olympian Ode 1 here: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text.jsp?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0162:book=O.

Olympian 1, For Hieron of Syracuse Single Horse Race 476 B.C.E.
Water is best, and gold, like a blazing fire in the night, stands out supreme of all lordly wealth. But if, my heart, you wish to sing of contests, look no further for any star warmer than the sun, shining by day through the lonely sky, and let us not proclaim any contest greater than Olympia.

From there glorious song enfolds the wisdom of poets, so that they loudly sing the son of Cronus, when they arrive at the rich and blessed hearth of Hieron, who wields the scepter of law in Sicily of many flocks, reaping every excellence at its peak, and is glorified by the choicest music, which we men often play around his hospitable table. . .

Michael Burghers (ca. 1640-ca. 1723), Frontispiece showing Pindar from Pindarou Olympia, Nemea, Pythia, Isthmia (1697) edited by Richard West and Richard Welsted, 1697. Engraving (framed).

Here is a brief biographic note from the Poetry Foundation:

Born to an aristocratic family near Thebes in or about 522 BCE, Pindar is considered by some scholars to be the greatest of the classical Greek poets. He is one of the few ancient poets represented by a substantial body of work, although only 45 of his odes of victory survive in their complete and original form, and other poems survive only in quotations from other authors or on fragmented scraps of papyrus discovered in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The victory odes—intended to be sung by choirs in celebration of athletes of the Olympian, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean games—were written on commissions from the victors’ family, friends, or benefactors. These poems place the athletes within the contexts of family history, festivals, and stories of the gods, to whom the pious Pindar attributed their victories.

In his duties as a poet, he traveled extensively around the Greek world; though he was subject to the complicated political tensions of the period, he did not avoid expressing his political and moral views. After a long and prosperous career, he died at Argos in 443 BCE at the age of 79. It is reported that when Alexander the Great sacked Thebes more than a hundred years after Pindar’s death, the poet’s house was the only one that was spared.

Giovanni Pietro Bellori (1613-1696), Veterum illustrium philosophorum, poetarum, rhetorum, et oratorum imagines: ex vetustis nummis, gemmis, hermis, marmoribus, alijsque antiquis monumentis desumptae / a Io. Petro Bellorio, Christinae Reginae Augustae bibliothecario & antiquario, expositionibus illustratae (Romae: Apud Io. Iacobum de Rubeis … , 1685). Plate 59 (part 2?), possibly engraved by Jacques Blondeau after Giacinto Calandrucci. Engraving (framed).

 

Currently, the earliest of our Pindar holdings is a manuscript: Pindari Quaedam et Sopho[…] written in ancient Greek (to 1453) [Constantinople ?], ca. 1420-1425]. 135 folios : paper ; 201 x 142 (150 x 55-75) mm. bound to 207 x 151 mm. Special Collections – South East (MSS) Princeton MS. 218

 

Poster: Picasso. Gravures originales pour illustrer la VIII pythique de Pindare… Paris Juin-Juillet 1961. Poster (framed).

…practical examples of mensuration: of singular use for work-men, artificers, and other ingenious persons delighting therein

Besides information on carpentry and logarithms, this book contains a frontispiece by the wonderful, under appreciated printmaker Thomas Cross, the elder (1632?–1682), who is credited with over 200 portraits.

The National Portrait Gallery, London, lists 165 prints, http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp10604/thomas-cross?role=art and Johnson’s A Catalogue of Engraved and etched English title-pages lists only 26. When someone recognizes his worth, a complete study will list more.

Samuel Foster (died 1652), The art of measuring: containing the description and explanation of the carpenters new rule. Furnished with a variety of scales, fitted for the more speedy mensuration of superficies and solids. Written by Sam. Foster, sometime Professor of Astronomy in Gresham Colledge. Also, certain geometrical problems, a table of logarithms to 10000, and some uses of the same exemplified in arithmetick and geometry ; but more particularly applied to the mensuration of superficies and solids, as board, glass, pavement, wainscot, plaistering, tyling, timber, stone, brick-work and gauging of cask. The second edition with additions by W. Leybourn. To which is added, A supplement, being the description of the line of numbers, with its use in divers practical examples of mensuration: of singular use for work-men, artificers, and other ingenious persons delighting therein By John Wiblin, carpenter. (London: Williamson, 1677). Rare Books 2007-3537N

Here are a few other Cross title pages and frontispieces:

https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2016/03/13/another-thomas-cross-identified/

https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2015/12/07/frontispieces-by-thomas-cross-the-elder-active-1632-1685/

https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2019/09/24/when-did-people-start-coloring-their-nails-and-making-other-body-transformations-answered-in-1650/

The Dictionary of National Biography notes rudely:

CROSS, THOMAS (fl. 1632-1682), engraver, was employed in engraving numerous portraits of authors and other celebrities as frontispieces to books published in the middle of the seventeenth century. His style shows no attempt at artistic refinement, but merely an endeavour to render faithfully the lineaments of the persons or objects portrayed; this he executed in a dry and stiff manner. His portraits are, however, a valuable contribution to the history of the period, and some of them are the only likenesses we possess—e.g. that of Philip Massinger, prefixed to an edition of his plays in 1655. Among the persons of note whose portraits were engraved by him were Thomas Bastwick, Richard Brownlowe, Jeremiah Burroughes, …, and many others, including a portrait of Richard III in Sir G. Buck’s ‘ Life and Reign’ of that monarch (1646).

Foster’s book ends with an advertisement!

Definition of artificer
1 a skilled or artistic worker or craftsman
2 one that makes or contrives

Who attended the trial of Queen Caroline?

George Hayter (1792-1871), The Great Historical Picture of the Queen’s Trial, 1823. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, London

A Descriptive catalogue of the Great Historical Picture, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Great Historical Picture, painted by George Hayter, member of The Academy of St. Luke, &c. &c. &c., representing the trial of Her Late Majesty Queen Caroline of England: with a faithful interior view of the House of Lords, and one hundred and eight-nine portraits ; amongst which are included those princes of the royal family, with most of the peers and distinguished personages who were in the House on that memorable occasion, and who did the artist the honor to sit : containing in the whole upwards of three hundred figures : now exhibiting at Mr. Cauty’s great rooms, No. 80½, Pall Mall. London: Printed by W. Hersee, White Lion Court, Cornhill. 1823. Graphic Arts Collection 2020- in process.

[Together with:] The Great Historical Picture of the Queen’s Trial by Mr. George Hayter… [London]: Hersee, Printer, 1, White Lion Court, Cornhill. [1823]. Broadside. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process.


On August 17, 1820, 260 prominent citizens of London gathered in the House of Lords to hear the introduction of the bill of pains and penalties aimed to “deprive Her Majesty Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of the Title, Prerogatives, Rights, Privileges and Pretensions of Queen Consort of this Realm, and to dissolve the Marriage between his Majesty and the said Queen.” — J. B. Priestley, The Prince of Pleasure and his Regency (1971). The Pains and Penalties Bill passed by a narrow margin.

London artist George Hayter received the prestigious commission to paint the scene, asking dozens to sit for him in his studio so their portraits would be accurate. Three years later, he capitalized on the excitement still surrounding the trial by staging an exhibition of his painting in Pall Mall with a catalogue [seen here] identifying each person attending the trial. This guaranteed the sale of his catalogue to at least the 189 people in the scene.

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired both the illustrated catalogue for Hayter’s exhibition and a handbill handed out to potential patrons passing in the street.

Affixed to the end of the catalogue is a note: “* The Asterisks are placed to the names of those gentlemen who, though present at the Trial, are so situated in the Picture, that the Artist did not find it necessary to trouble them to sit [pose for their portrait].”

The 8 stanza poem on the handbill is fittingly dramatic, equal to the excitement felt throughout London: “There sat the anxious Caroline / within the lofty Hall / Before the searching eyes of men / Who waited for her fall.”

 

Sergeĭ Sigeĭ


Designed and printed by the visual poet Sergeĭ Sigeĭ (1947-2014), this text was originally written in 1943-44 by the futurist poet Aleksei Kruchenykh (1886–1968). His poetry in turn is a tribute to Nikolai Gogol (1809–1852) the father of the absurd in nineteenth-century Russian literature.

In the introduction Sigeĭ explains:

“The late Kruchenykh did not write trans-sense poetry, instead, with a mysterious smile, he was re-writing classical literature. This work is easily understood in the context of contemporary debates about ‘postmodernism’; the great futurist turned out to be ahead of ‘the first Russian postmodernists’…”

This and other similar volumes were published by the Yeysk State Museum of History and Local Lore in Southern Russia, notable for holding the first international exhibition of concrete poetry in the Soviet Union, as well as first exhibit of mail art in 1989–1990.

 

 

Alekseĭ Kruchenykh (1886-1968), Arabeski iz Gogoli︠a︡; [predislovie, podgotovka teksta i shriftovai︠a︡ aranzhirovka Sergeĭ Sigeĭ] ([Eĭsk]: Otdel zhivopisi i grafiki Eĭskogo istoriko-kraevedcheskogo muzei︠a︡, 1992). Firestone PG3476.K76 A822 1992. [Originally written 1943-1944–p. 4].

The poet Aleksei Yeliseyevich Kruchyonykh belonged to the Futurism movement in Russia along with Vladimir Mayakovsky, David Burliuk and others. He wrote the libretto for the Futurist opera Victory Over the Sun (1913), with sets provided by Kazimir Malevich. He married Olga Rozanova, an avant-garde artist, in 1912; four years later, in 1916, he created his most famous book, Universal War. He is also known for his Declaration of the Word as Such (1913)

Aubrey Beardsley’s “Die Götterdämmerung”


Ten drawings from Princeton University Library’s Aubrey Beardsley Collection, C0056, will be traveling to the exhibition Aubrey Beardsley on view at Tate Britain, London, from 4 March-25 May 2020. Among these are [above]: Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898), Volpone Adoring His Treasure, pen and ink drawing, 1898. Published posthumously in Ben Jonson His Volpone, 1898. [Oversize » NE642.B363 J63, and four others]

Volpone was first brought out at the Globe Theatre in 1605, printed in quarto in 1607,  and was republished by Jonson in 1616 without alterations or additions.

“Beardsley appears to have been truly taken with Jonson’s play, writing F.H. Evans on 11 december: I am making pictures for Ben Jonson’s adorable and astonishing Volpone.” On the same day he informed Pollitt: “I carry Volpone about with me from dawn to dawn, and dream of nothing else.”The artist’s enthusiasm for the comedy is equally evident in his notes for the Volpone prospectus. “Daring and forcible in conception, brilliant and faultless in execution.” He writes, “It is undoubtedly the finest comedy in the English language outside the works of Shakespeare.” James G. Nelson, Publisher to the Decadents: Leonard Smithers in the Careers of Beardsley, Wilde, and Dowson (2010).

Also traveling to London will be [above] Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898), Salomé with the Head of St. John the Baptist, ca. 1894. Pen and ink drawing. Although this was drawn to illustrate Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, it was not used. Aubrey Beardsley Collection, C0056, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

And most exciting: [below] Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898), Die Götterdämmerung, 1892. Pen and ink, wash, and Chinese white. 12 1/8 x 20 1/4. Reproduced in A Second Book of Fifty Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley, London, 1899, p. [53]. From the collection of Robert Ross. [Gallatin 223] No. 17.

Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), is the last in Richard Wagner’s cycle of four music dramas titled Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung, or The Ring for short). It received its premiere at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 17 August 1876, as part of the first complete performance of the Ring.

Die Götterdämmerung,” notes Emma Sutton in Aubrey Beardsley and British Wagnerism in the 1890s (2002), “Beardsley’s only drawing of the concluding part of the Ring cycle, was probably prompted by the first performance for a decade of the Ring in London in June and July 1892. It is extremely likely that he attended a performance of the drama; he certainly attended Siegfried, and produced drawings on Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, and of the principle singers, in this year.

No interpretation of the drawing has, to my knowledge, ever been offered, perhaps because its stylistics might suggest that it is an incomplete or experimental, Impressionistic work. The drawing is, however, an intricate and highly knowledgeable representation of Wagner’s work, demonstrating Beardsley’s comprehensive knowledge of Die Götterdämmerung (and, indeed, of the whole cycle) from the very start of the decade. Beardsley presents the gods shrouded in long drapes in a bleak forest setting; with their elongated limbs and enveloping robes they appear androgynous figures, listless and melancholy, entrapped by the sharp bare stems that rise from the border and ground around them.

Despite the undulating lines of the landscape, Die Gotterdammerung is a scene of desolate stasis, bleakly portraying Wagner’s Twilight of the Gods. A compression of several scenes from Wagner’s drama, the drawing is, I would suggest, an extraordinarily innovative and ambitious attempt to evoke concisely the narrative events and cumulative tone of the entire drama.”
–Emma Sutton, Aubrey Beardsley and British Wagnerism in the 1890s (2002)

Tate Britain calls this the largest exhibition of Beardsley drawings for 50 years. “Aubrey Beardsley shocked and delighted late-Victorian London with his sinuous black and white drawings. He explored the erotic and the elegant, the humorous and grotesque, winning admirers around the world with his distinctive style. Spanning seven years, this exhibition will cover Beardsley’s intense and prolific career as a draughtsman and illustrator, cut short by his untimely death from tuberculosis, aged 25. Beardsley’s charismatic, enigmatic persona played a part in the phenomenon that he and his art generated, so much so that Max Beerbohm dubbed the 1890s the ‘Beardsley Period’.” https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/aubrey-beardsley

Bourne’s Views of New York 1831

Thanks to the generous gift of Stuart P. Feld, Class of 1957, and Mrs. Feld, the Graphic Arts Collection now holds 14 engravings on 7 sheets, framed, after Charles Burton from the series Bourne’s Views of New York, first printing. The drawings were made for George Melksham Bourne, who issued the series of New York views in 1831, engraved by J. Smillie, Archer, Gimber, H. Fossette, and others, then printed by John Neale. This first issue of the Bourne plates can be distinguished by Bourne’s imprint and copyright notice, which are removed from later issues of plates published by Disturnell. The views now at Princeton are as follows:

Plate 9: Council Chamber, City Hall [with] Public Room, Merchant’s Exchange

Plate 11: Phenix Bank, Wall St. [with] United States’ Branch Bank

Plate 12: Brooklyn Ferry, Fulton St. [with] Steam Boat Wharf, Whitehall Street

Plate 14: St. George’s Church, Beekman St. [with] Clinton Hall, Beekman St.

Plate 15: Church of the Ascension, Canal St. [with] Exchange Place Looking to Hanover St.

Plate 17: St. Luke’s Church, Hudson Street, New York [with] The Reservoir, Bowery, New York.

Plate 18: St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Mott St. [with] St. Peter’s Church, Barclay St.


According to Gloria Deak, in her Picturing America 1497-1899 “The set of engravings the George Melksham Bourne issued from his shop on Broadway near Franklin Street in 1831 is generally considered the most beautifully executed sequence of small New York views.” [Graphic Arts 2014-0771Q, p. 262]

 


Carl Browne’s Vote Maker [for the People’s Party] 1892

Trained as a commercial house painter, Calisthenes “Carl” Dryden Browne (1849-1914) adapted his skill with a paintbrush to produce gigantic oil paintings on popular themes, beginning in 1869 with The Lord’s Supper, followed by Yosemite Valley, the Franco-Prussian War, and other spectacles. For six months in 1886, Browne rented a San Francisco theater not far from Market Square where he exhibited a panorama entitled Battle of Gettysburg, charging a small admission fee. Although no images survive, it has been described as a series of panels that formed a circle around the audience. On various nights Browne appeared alongside the paintings to entertaining the pubic with oratory that was part history, part religion, and part his own personal mythology.

Not surprisingly, the charismatic speaker became active in politics, working for the United States Labor Party, the Workingmen’s Party, and in the spring of 1892, elected a delegate to the People’s Party convention in Omaha, Nebraska. In preparation, Browne painted 14 gigantic scenes, 7 ¼ x 14 feet each, on canvas that could be rolled and transported to the July convention where he spoke for three hours alongside his paintings, “prepared as object lessons to inform those who have not devoted time and thought to this movement of the people … the causes, aspirations and hopes of this people’s party.”

Browne was such a hit, the paintings became known as Carl Brown’s [sic] Vote Maker, and the state committee of Nebraska arranged with him to campaign throughout the state for the People’s Party ticket of James B. Weaver and James G. Field (which won the national vote in four states). The artist also made quick miniature sketches [seen here] of the paintings to be published along with his commentary. Only three copies exist today but thanks to the University of California and Hathi Trust, a digital version can be read at: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31175035166548&view=thumb&seq=36

I will not attempt to summarize the three hour commentary but Browne ended with a brief quote from Lester C. Hubbard’s recently published The Coming Climax in the Destinies of America: “It shall be that plain of Armageddon dimly seen by ancient seers, where the brute nature and immortal soul of man close in a final contest, which shall herald the dawning of the era of love and tenderness when nations shall know the fatherhood of God and live the brotherhood of man. This was the prayer made by Him of many sorrows when dying on Calvary’s cross, and at last it shall come true, for the everlasting God hath so ordained it.”

Imagine these 14 feet long and brightly painted.

How to color a hyacinth


The Florist. Containing Sixty Plates of the Most Beautiful Flowers Regularly Dispos’d in Their Succession of Blowing to Which Is Added an Accurate Description of Their Colours, with Instructions for Drawing & Painting Them According to Nature: Being a New Work Intended for the Use & Amusement of Gentlemen and Ladies Delighting in That Art (London: Robert Sayer and Thomas Bowles, ca. 1760). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process.

Provenance: Thomas Baskerfeild (1752-1816), a wealthy artist from Bedforshire who lived on the profits his father made as a drysalter (“a dealer in chemical products, dyes, etc. or, formerly, in dried or salted foods”) in partnership with Sir Richard Glyn in Hatton Garden. His library was sold by Sotheby’s in a sale that lasted seven days beginning November 13, 1817, and raised a total of £1426.

 

The Graphic Arts Collection has a spectacular new botanical drawing book, one of the first painting manuals designed for adult use. Published by Robert Sayer (1725-1794) in collaboration with Thomas, Robert,  and Carington Bowles, the work includes a suite of 60 plates depicting specific flowers, together with detailed instructions on how to color each one. The principal colors are listed in the introductory text [above], all of which could be obtained from the publisher: “Ladies and Gentlemen may be supply’d with the aforemention’d Colours, and all other, carefully prepar’d: Also, all Materials for Drawing and Painting, at the most reasonable Rates, by the Publisher of this Work” (p. 3). Specific instructions for coloring each flower are then given, with information on the particular recommended colors.

 

This edition is dated to ca. 1760 because of the “John Bowles and Son” in the imprint, since the family worked under this name from 1753 until 1764. In Blanche Henrey’s British botanical and horticultural literature before 1800 (Reference Collection Z5352 .H45), he notes three editions using the same plates and title-page, with the major difference between the first two being the numbering of the text section as pp. 61-76 rather than pp. [1]-16, as here. Henrey’s third edition includes the name of Jonathan Bennett in the imprint. Both text and plates were later copied and published under the title Bowles’ Florist. Henrey notes only seeing one copy of each of the editions mentioned, two copies black and white and the copy noted for the present edition being the only colored one (at CKC). “The compiler has, so far, seen only one copy of this edition [no. 709, the Bennett edition] of The Florist. It is in the Lindley Library, R.H.S. and the plates are uncoloured. According to a statement on the title-page coloured copies were also obtainable.” As shown here, Princeton’s book is uncolored.

 

 

Another edition not mentioned in Henrey has the imprint “Sold by I. Smith, at Hogarth’s Head, Cheapside, London” (OCLC lists Wellcome only). As well as the entries in OCLC and ESTC, Yale Center for British Art has two copies, one of which is colored, and Virginia’s Oak Spring Garden Library also has a copy.

 


“Painting having already had so many eloquent and powerful advocates, it would now seem impertinent to tire the Reader in endeavouring to prove that Art noble and delightful. That it is so, the ingenious have always in the strongest manner confessed by their constant attention and encouragement: therefore, the only use here made of an introduction will be to inform the purchasers of this work, of the plan on which it is executed.”

Mélodies illustrées 1892-1893

Henri Gabriel Ibels (1867-1936); Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923); Georges De Feure (1868-1928); Adolphe Willette (1857-1926); and Georges Auriol (1863-ca.1938), Mélodies Illustrées. 1892-1893. Lithographic and gillotage illustrated sheet music. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process.

A spectacular collection of French illustrated sheet music is now available in the Graphic Arts Collection: 46 with covers designed by H. G Ibels (43 in color and 3 in black and white); 33 by T. A. Steinlen (25 in color and 8 black and white); 4 in black and white by or after Adolphe Willette; 2 in color by G. De Feure, and 1 with a color cover after G. Auriol. Some covers are reproduced by lithography and some by gillotage (a relief process made by transferring a lithographic image to a metal plate).

 

In addition, this group includes the play L’amour S’amuse by Etienne Decrept (sayings in verse performed at La Scala by Mévisto & Camille Stéfani) illustrated by Ibels with five color lithographs and published by Georges Ondet in 1892 [above].

Parisian theater programs, posters, and sheet music designed by leading French artists were preserved by a limited audience of collectors and aficionados, making these fragile sheets rare in libraries and archives today. While Graphic Arts collects them for the cover, listing them by artist, they also preserve the popular music and lyrics of the period so important to the café-concert culture. A good example is [below] the sheet music for Mère moderne by V. Damiens, Saint-Gilles, and Emile Spencer, performed by Irène Henry and Blanche Fréda (with a cover by Ibels).


Particularly interesting is a series of French songs performed by Julies Mévisto (Mevisto the Elder, 1857-1918), many written by Montojay and Gaston Maquis, designed by Ibels with a Pierrot character on the cover.

Ibels’ first public success came from his 1892 poster of the popular singer Jules Mévisto, for whom he also lithographed his first sheet-music covers, published by Ondet in the early 1895. Mévisto was one of a growing number of singers who interpreted the repertoire of the Montmartre chansonnier-poètes in both the cabarets and in the more lucrative café-concerts. Mévisto had a distinctive stage personality; he dramatized the lyrics he sang with the exaggerated gestures of pantomime and affected different “voices” for the various characters in his songs. Hence, many of Ibels’ cover illustrations for Mévisto focus on the image of the singer himself rather than on the lyrics.–Gale B. Murray, “Music illustration in the circle of Bonnard,” Prints Abound, Paris in the 1890s (National Gallery of Art, 2000). Marquand Library Oversize NE649.P3 C37 2000q


Confession of a Mistake sung by Anna Thibaud (1861-1948) , words by Hector Sombre (died 1894), music by Gustave Goublier (pseudonym for Gustave Conin 1856-1926).

Titles by cover artist:
Georges Auriol, Quand Les Lilas Refleuriront.

Georges De Feure, Ménage D’artiste; and Lorsque Les Femmes Sont Jolies.

H.G. Ibels, L’amour Est Un Rêve; Ceux D’la Côte; Jean-Pierre; Retour Au Nid; La Valse Des Bas Noirs; Si Vous Le Vouliez, O Mademoiselle; Amoureuse!; Serment Trahi; Amoureux!; Aubade À La Lune; Comment On S’aime…; Cœur Meurtri; Elle, Cantique D’amour Dit Par J. Mévisto À L’horloge; Femme Honnête; La Chanson Du Macchabée; La Fin D’une Bordée; La Morgue; La Mort Du Propre À Rien; La Petite Correspondance Du Gil-Blas; La Valse Des Cotillons; L’aveu De La Faute; La Rose Et Pierrot; Restons Chez Nous; Pierrot Médecin; Pauvres Hommes, Si L’on Voulait!; Mimi, Chanson Créée Par J. Mévisto; Mes Moutons; Mère Moderne; Mensonges, Romance Répertoire Mercadier; Lettre D’amour; Lettre D’un Mari Trompé, Chanson Créée Par J. Mévisto; Les Veuves Du Luxembourg, Créée Par J. Mévisto; Les Pousse-Caillou; Les Petites Mères; Les Mal Tournés, Chanson Créée Par Mévisto; Les Malchanceux, Créée Par Mévisto; Les Culs-Terreux, Poésie De René Esse; Les Camarades; Les Bibis; Le Pitre; Le Pardon; Le 27, Poésie De René Esse; La Mort Des Gueux; La Danse Des Ventres; and La Chanson Du Rouet.

T.A. Steinlen: Chanson Des Conscrits, Créée Par Caudieux; Boul’vard Des Capucines; Au Quartier Bréda; Du Mouron Pour Les P’tits Oiseaux; A L’atelier; J’te Vas Coller Un Paing!; Et Voilà Pourquoi Madeleine…; En R’filant La Comète; Député!; L’heureux Dragon; L’aiguilleur; La Chanson De La Vie; La Toussaint Héroïque; La Râfle; La Pécheresse; Mon Homme!; Mon Tra Déri Tra; Maman, Conte Pour Noël; Lettre D’un Gréviste; Les Suiveurs; Les P’tits Martyrs!; Les Omnibus; Le Rêve De Trottin; Le Bataillon De Cythère; Le Bouton De Chemise; Les Rouleux; Quand Tu Feras Un Gosse; Regrets À Ninon; Sur L’eau; Vierge À Vendre, Monologue De Ch. Aubert; L’aveu De La Faute; La Marche De La Garde; and La Joueuse D’orgue.

A. Willette: Le Baiser; Tout Simplement…; Ohé ! Les Mœurs.. ; and Les Enfants & Les Mères.