VISITORS TO THE WOLFSONIAN DURING ART BASEL

The Wolfsonian library holds a great collection of Dutch Nieuwe Kunst book-binding collection—one of the largest outside of the Netherlands. It contains fine examples of Art Nouveau design, but also reflects the influence of the Dutch East Indies (Java and Indonesia) on the mother-country including some splendid examples of the application and modification of the Batik technique.

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Since the museum had recently opened the exhibition Postcards of the Wiener Werkstatte: Selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection in our seventh floor galleries, we decided to show off some of our related library materials as well from the Austrian Secession period.

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A sampling of some of the French pochoir portfolio plates proved to be exceedingly popular with the public, drawn in by the brilliant colors that the gouache and stencil work technique produced in the “roaring twenties.” Given that each color on a page required the creation of a separate copper stencil and much labor was involved in the production process, pochoirs largely disappeared following the 1929 “crash” and onset of the Great Depression.

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GIFT OF RICHARD P. SCHICK

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The library also holds a significant collection of Art Moderne or “Art Deco” books from France and the United States.

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Among those produced in America are a few works bound and illustrated by designer John Vassos (1898-1985).

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The Wolfsonian is renowned for our holdings of Italian Futurist materials, and out on display were some of the most famous works by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876-1944), Fortunato Depero (1892-1960), and Bruno Munari (1907-1998).

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Not wanting to slight our Russian enthusiasts, we also included a selection of Soviet Constructivist works by El Lissitzky (1890-1941), including the binding he designed for Vladimir Mayakovsky’s book of poetry, Dlia Golosa.

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We also displays some materials from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection. Several visitors were especially thrilled to be able to see some of the late Victorian world cruise photograph albums, as well as others put together by colonial troops and expeditionaries stationed in remote parts of the globe.

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GIFTS OF JEAN S. AND FREDERIC A. SHARF

The Wolfsonian is also known as an important repository of print materials related to travel and transportation, trains, planes, automobiles, and ocean liners.

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 GIFT OF PEGGY LOAR

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GIFT OF THEODORE (TED) W. PIETSCH III, FACILITATED BY FREDERIC A. SHARF

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A number of our VIP visitors had come specifically to view some of the incredible passenger liner materials on display in the library.

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Of course, the Wolfsonian also has and is known for its collection of commercial and political propaganda.

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Visitors had the opportunity to peruse some of our manufacturers’ catalogs, fabric and wallpaper sample books, and one of a series of advertising display cards recently donated to the collection by Jeffrey Flemings.

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GIFT OF JEFFREY FLEMINGS

We also set out some political propaganda from the First World War, the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in the thirties, and some Second World War ephemera.

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GIFT OF STEVE HELLER

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GIFT OF PAMELA K. HARER

One particularly popular piece was a WWI children’s book designed with flaps on each page that could be flipped to reveal the horrors of war.

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GIFT OF PAMELA K. HARER

Other propaganda items that captured the crowds were plates from a portfolio designed by Antonio Arias Bernal (1914-1960), an important Mexican political cartoonist. The project had been initiated by President Roosevelt with the aim of drawing neutral South American nations into the Allied alliance. To reach as many people as possible in regions with high rates of illiteracy, the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA) came up with the idea of creating a deck of illustrated playing cards caricaturing the Axis powers.

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GIFTS OF MARTIJN F. LE COUTRE

As the war was coming to an end and the CIAA disbanded before the project was complete, the artist printed and distributed a small number of portfolios on his own. One of Europe’s most respected poster collectors, Martijn F. Le Coutre picked up a portfolio during his travels in Mexico in 2010 and was kind enough to donate it to our collection.

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~ by "The Chief" on December 14, 2012.

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