Looking around for inspiration for our family Christmas card, which I desperately would like to evolve from the traditional “here we are in front of some natural (maritime or snowy) backdrop”, I have become quite taken–like many before me, and no doubt after–with the whimsical illustrations of Mela Koehler (1885-1960). Koehler was a conspicuous member of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop), an artistic collaboration for artists, artisans, designers and architects inspired by the British Arts and Crafts movement. In the first three decades of the twentieth century, the Workshop became incredibly influential due to the fact that it emphasized both the artistic and the entrepreneurial: marketing was clearly a priority and the postcards produced by its members were the primary marketing tool. Mela Koehler created about 150 postcards for the Workshop: typically fantasy fashion images which served not as advertisements for actual clothes but as inspiration for women to experiment with their own attire. Add a tree or some holly, or a muff (clearly her favorite accessory), and you have a winter/Christmas postcard, offered up just at the moment that these merry missives were taking off. Original Koehler postcards are quite valuable, but most seem to have been acquired by Leonard Lauder as part of his massive collection (commenced when he was 6 years old), which has been generously donated to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The MFA featured an exhibition of a sample of the Lauder postcards last year, and many have been digitized, fortunately for us and for posterity–because as artistic as these little cards are, they are still (or were), in essence, ephemera.
Daily Archives: December 10, 2014
Streets of Salem:
Somewhat random but still timely posts about culture, history, and the material environment, from the perspectives of academia, Salem and beyond.
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Top Posts & Pages
- 1937 #Massachusetts legislation establishing the @SalemMaritime National Historic Site in #SalemMA--for which I am… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 20 hours ago
- RT @SalemMaritime: The Society for the Preservation of New England (@HistoricNE today) began restoring the Derby House in 1927. The house e… 1 day ago
- Grateful that @SalemMaritime is bringing #SalemMA into the national commemoration of #1619: facebook.com/events/3861700… 1 day ago
- 1857 petition of the Essex Institute of #SalemMA to the Massachusetts legislature, advocating for the preservation… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 1 day ago
- So important to emphasize how difficult & expensive digitization is, and how few materials have been digitized: Her… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 2 days ago
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