Thursday, March 19, 2009

Purple People Eater

With the Modern Sale out of the way, my thoughts get to turn to bigger and better things: our May auction. While I probably haven't seen everything in it yet (my unbound copy of the catalogue shows up from the printer tomorrow...oh joy, oh rapture!), I am almost certain that nothing else in the sale can compare to my new favorite poster. 

This is Thomas Heine's 'Tinte und Feder,' a curious and ├╝ber-awesome poster from 1897. 

First off, the use of only three colors, one of them being a gorgeously rich purple, puts him way ahead of his time design-wise. You don't really see stuff this Modern coming out of Germany for another ten years. It is just so crisp and so striking, and yet so simple. You'll get a better idea of what I'm talking about when I do a later entry on our other Secession-era posters--the graphic design of this period was, generally speaking, much more focused on intricate, jewel-like patterns (think Klimt, Moser) or sinuous, pastel-infused sweetness (Mucha). You just don't see something like this that often. 

I also think that Heine might be taking advertising out of the obvious and into the intellectual with this poster. Unlike it's less-culturally-sensitive counterparts, this poster gets a round of applause for using something other than blacksploitation imagery to sell ink (see ). Instead, I think Heine is making a reference to the ever-popular Sturm und Drang in Germanic literature--why not use the icons of that which is written to advertise that with which one writes? Perhaps this little satyr is meant to represent Goethe's (or Mann's for that matter) Mephistopheles. Then again, perhaps I'm just a hyper-intellectual snob that likes to project such literary fantasies upon art that I love. 

Sadly, with an estimate of $30,000-$40,000, this bad boy isn't going to make it to my bedroom this year; but, I'll gladly give the title of "Most Awesome Person In The Universe" to the bloke who buys it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment