The Postcard Art of Achille Mauzan

I have repeatedly
been told in the past
by readers and
collectors alike,
that my tastes in
postcard art run a
bit into the obscure –

that’s probably true.

I’ll admit,
for instance,
that there are certainly
artists a lot of folks
have never heard of –
who nonetheless
consistently created
pieces that really sing
to me.

It could be a matter
of color, shading, lines,
or just a witty sense of
humor or an interesting
perspective that grabs
my initial attention —

(and of course,
a pretty girl with a hint
of stocking never hurts )

but there are relatively
few that can combine
all those elements to
create a lasting impression.

One of those artists
would be Achille Mauzan –
I must add,
his work does have
a very large following internationally.

Born in the scenic town of
Gap in the French Alps
in 1883, and a graduate
of the École des Beaux-Arts
in Lyon, he quickly became
one of the leading lights
of the Art Deco movement
in the first part of the
20th Century.

This style and influence
can clearly be seen in his
best poster and postcard
work .

And of course,
flappers, galore.

Although many remember
his advertising posters for
Italian products, and is
often thought of as an
Italian himself, he actually
divided the time of his
working life between
nationalities —

–working for years in
Milano and Turin,
several more in
the Argentine,
and finally back in
Paris and Lyon.

He is especially adept
at communicating
a simmering sense
of sensuality in some
of his saucier postcards–

and while the pastel
colors in the cards are
generally muted,
dabs of bright hues bring
the point of focus exactly
where he wants it to be.

After producing literally
thousands of beautiful
posters, lithographs,
illustrations and postcards,
he finally retired to his
hometown of Gap,
where he spent all
his remaining
time painting until his
death in 1951.


!!! HOY !!!


From Italy With Love

Italian food and art —

– a couple of things
that most folks can’t
help but love.

And I am a huge fan
of both.

Art goes back a long
way in that part of
the world, as I’m sure
you know —

— as you probably
know the names of
the truly great
Italian artists like:
Da Vinci, Botticelli,
and Caravaggio.

I love them, sure.

But one of my favorites
ain’t on that list.

His name was Adolfo Busi,
and he did a lot of work
on postcards around the
turn of the 20th century.

Born in Bologna in 1891,
he studied art at the famous
Accademia della Felsinea-

— he initially got his career
started illustrating children’s
books like:
“Puss In Boots”,
“Little Red Riding Hood”,
and ” Cinderella “.

Posters were a favorite
medium for Busi-

— his advertising art for
products like “Baroni”
and “La Ducale of Parma”
are very well remembered.

He also created
postcard art
in every description
and purpose-

– from World War I propaganda
to romantic and humorous

And today, we have
two wonderful series
which I like a lot and
wanted to share –

The first set is called:
“All Is Fair In Love And War”,

—and were issued
around 1920.

(pics # 2-5 )

They illustrate several allegories
of a lovely maiden undergoing
the challenges and dangers
related to an affair of the heart.

Here she is launching
an all out attack with
her heart cannon upon
her potential love-mate.

Busi certainly has an
interesting and
rather straightforward
approach to it, for sure.

His message is clear –
– the pain and struggles
involved in romance can be
a matter of life and death.

Something that should
always be handled seriously.

IS love
really a battlefield?

Only Busi
and Pat Benatar
know for sure, I guess.

But our second set today
( pics # 6- 9 )
sends a different message –

a man and a woman so
involved with each other
( and their silky pajamas )
that their passion could
possibly light the whole
house on fire –

— and will, if they’re not
more careful with
those candles.

I like this set much better –

– it’s simply a happier setting…

but both sets are beautifully
done and represent some of
Busi’s best illustrative work.

( I might mention that both sets
are missing individual cards, at
least one from each. Anybody ? )


!!! HOY !!!


The Postcard Art of Cobb Shinn

kindofdogshinnSome vintage postcards look like
they could have been produced
a hundred years ago,

— or they could have been
done just last year —

I don’t mean judging by the clothing
or the subject of a card, of course,

—- but by the artist’s
sensibility and style.

A Frances Brundage card,
for example,
(like this next Thanksgiving card)
is easy to relate to,
even for modern audiences,brundage

— although she happens to have done
most of her best work way back in the 1890’s.

And then,

there are other card designers
that force you into a whole
different artistic orientationanger
in order to understand
what’s being said.

Cobb Shinn
(also known as ‘Tom Yad’)
produced thousands of cards —
many, very highly prized by collectors —

But often the first thought
when someone
encounters his work is:

“What Did He Mean?” .

And it’s funny–

I don’t think that cheepshinn
half the people
who were originally
buying his cards
knew exactly what
Cobb Shinn really
was saying about
his subject.

Take his “Ford” series,cobbshinn1e
for instance.

A very experienced collector
friend of mine claims that
these cards were produced
under the aegis of the fledgling
Ford Motor Company to drum
up business for the Model T.fordshinn1

On the other hand,
writer Sylvia Henricks
that, no:
“His drawings of
the Model T Fords

portrayed the frustration
of their 
owners and ford
the merriment of observers. “


I can see it both ways —

Henry Ford didn’t mind publicity…

I just don’t think
this was the kindvotesshinn
of publicity that
he really appreciated.

But there are Shinn cards
that are kinder to Ford —
— so, perhaps.

Take another example…

It seems to me
that Shinn
was in favor
of women’s suffrage —
— at a time
when it was
very controversial.

But he often uses a
peculiar spelling
for the word ‘women’ –

— ‘wimmen’.

was he mocking
the whole movement,
or trying to lighten the
discourse surrounding it?backshinn

It’s very hard to tell,
if you only have his cards
and his art to go on.

Perhaps, he was just
‘playing the market’–

The postcard business could be a
tough way to make a living, after all.

Still, he seems to have
managed pretty well —

Shinn was born in Indiana in 1887:1912

A graduate of the
John Herron School of Art,

He studied under the great
Impressionist artist William Forsyth,

as well as the popular pulp
cartoonist William Merle Allison,

and was creating cards
as early as 1907.wrongname

He served in France,
in the United States Army
during World War I,

and came home to
Indianapolis around 1919.

Shinn is remembered for charliechaplinshinn
several genres of novelty cards —

He did a series of
humorous comic cards —

featuring Charlie Chaplin,
for instance.

Baseball was a
favorite subject of his….. bugs

Others were romantic cards
with poetry —

a series called “Riley Roses”
featured Indiana born poet
James Whitcomb Riley,
and with stanzas from his work.

Others featured Longfellow,
and Whitman.

There were also many
series with children,

including the
“Sepia Wooden Shoe Dutch” cards.bow

As I stated previously,

Shinn had served in France
during World War I,
returning to Indianapolis in 1919.

The retail demand for postcards
had a seasonal and
yearly ebb and flow,

and during the lean times in the era,

he produced all kinds
of commercial art ,

including comic strips,little
and even clip art.

Somewhat notoriously,
he also illustrated several
childrens books, that were —

well, let’s say —
not culturally sensitive,
or inclusive.conradshinn

Perhaps that is why Shinn
is not remembered as fondly
as some other postcard illustrators —

Or maybe the cryptic nature
of some of his cards
themselves had a role
in this.

Who knows.devilshinn

Who cares?

One learns about
the nature of our
own culture by
studying the relics
of the past.

So expect to see more
of this guy’s work
right here on the
Muscleheaded Blog.





A serious post script
about art censorship for a mo:spider

Art is art —

and it exists to elicit a reaction, right?

You never know–

even when art offends,

it might have it’s own positive
hand in changing attitudes about things.

In the end,

nothing can be learned unless
every perspective can be seen,
experienced, and understood.satsifyshinn

And in the whole world,

there are very few people that
appreciates censorship in any form
LESS than I do.

So, please–

keep any silly P.C. notions
about what I should not post to yourself.

And take a class,
man, take a class.