Saturday, 12 August 2017

George Barbier - The Birth of Art Deco

Georges Barbier was perhaps the most famous French illustrator of the 20th Century and a leader and influencer of the Art Deco movement.  His work has its own, readily identifiable style and is known for illustrating the fashions of the period.  His work however, extended well beyond the field of illustration.  He became famous for his costume designs for the theatre and ballet. Barbier illustrated books, designed wallpaper, fabrics,  jewellery and glass. he wrote numerous essays and magazine articles and designed costumes and sets for the Folies Bergere. Barbier was the leading member of a group of fashionable and flamboyant artists and designers who became known as "The Knights Of The Bracelet"
Georges Barbier died in 1932 at the age of 50. He was at the pinnacle of his career.

Barbier was born and grew up in Nantes in a prosperous and bourgeois family. His life in Paris was in marked contrast. Many of his friends and associates were from the Parisien homosexual society and he appears to have been disowned by his family. On his death, he was buried in Nantes, very discretely, and his family quickly forgot him.  His library was auctioned off and his collections of European and Asian erotica was donated to the Bibliotheque Nationale where it was stored in a section of works that might offend public decency.

Barbier and his work was quickly forgotten by the public and French society and it wasn't until 2007 that an exhibition of his work was shown in public "George Barbier - The Birth of Art Deco" at the Fortuny Museum in Venice.
L.Envie 1925
Les Fetes Galantes - 1928

Au Lido
Incantation. A flapper in coral and pink and a couple at the piano.

Canvas Wall Art
The Taste of Shawls. One of many of Barbier's works depicting lesbians
Imperial  Procession
One of Barbier's Vingt cinq costumes for the Paris theatre

La Belle Personne 1924

Au Revoir

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