On opening night of the exhibit Cosmopolitan Consumption (Information here
several visitors asked if the original color of some of the objects was brighter or stronger. Luckily
on the underside of a number of the objects sections of the original color was
intact and in one case a snippet of original fabric remained in an unfaded
Aside from a quick view of the
bottom of an object, the ongoing advances in the scientific research of
historic colors has greatly enhanced our understanding of the use and palette
of color over time. That is great for the original object, but how do we
actually see these colors from one generation to the next.
Each generation predisposes itself to how it
views the world. This predisposition is one way that conservators and curators
can see some ‘improvements’ and restorations with the naked eye. An example of
this is the way in which faces are painted or over-painted, the Flapper or
Bright-Young-Thing face on the Georgian portrait. Oops how did that
One of the most difficult premises for an artist is to distance their self from their time period.
|Dice in another version also on Ebay 3/15|
A chance encounter with a new color palette from an artist
whose work I know jolted me the other day when I saw a series of pochoirs
rendered in the 1920s by Guy Arnoux, but based on scenes from the French Régence
(1715-23). I enjoy Arnoux’s cartoonesque
style, which is firmly rooted in the early 20th century, but often
illustrates the past. A technical note, pochoir is a refined coloring technique
that employs stencils and gouaches to illuminate prints. There is a vibrant quality to the technique
that appeals to my eye.
The technique was employed in the first quarter of the
century by the haute couture French fashion journal La Gazette du Bon Ton
. That being said,
the series that I came across on EBay that was shocking in its color palette.
I knew the series; Jeux et Divertissements
. I have a couple of the prints from the
series that I found in an antique shop years ago. I considered the examples I
own as being the standard color range, but on this other group, the colors were
intensely modern, at least for the 1920s. The coloration might be jarring to
our modern eye and our understanding of the correct colors of the 18th
century, but it might have been less so to the 1920s’ eye.
|Hunting soft or faded Palatte|
Jeff Hopper is a Consultant, Historic House Steward and Social Historian
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