SEDUCED: Fans & The Art of Advertising

The Fan Museum

Explore how commercial art emerged during the late Nineteenth Century to play a pivotal role in generating and sustaining a culture of consumption within society

Seduced! Fans & the Art of Advertising reveals how commercial art - a dynamic, seductive art form - emerged during the late Nineteenth Century to play a pivotal role in generating and sustaining a culture of consumption within society. The exhibition is presented both as a chronological and aesthetic timeline. Sections devoted to particular epochs reveal how, from tentative beginnings during the late Victorian period, commercial art blossomed into a totally modern art form with a seductive visual language all of its own.
La Belle Époque
The story begins with advertising fans made during the late Victorian and Edwardian period (in France, a period known as 'La Belle Époque' - literally, 'beautiful era').  Many established poster artists designed fans, or their original poster designs were adapted to fit the fan format.  Other fans, however, closely emulate Victorian design principles and feature stock designs decorated with elaborate borders and baroque-rococo ornaments culled from publications.

Henri Cassiers for Red Star Line, circa 1900s

The guards are stamped ‘Red Star Line’ on one side and ‘Antwerp/New York’ on the other.

The double paper leaf is printed on the recto with a monochrome blue lithograph of a portside scene with fisher folk watching a liner out at sea; after a design by Henri Cassiers. The verso is printed in colour with swirling American flags and the flag of the Red Star Line in the centre.

By the dawn of the Twentieth Century those involved within the sphere of commercial art - printers, advertising agencies and artists - were beginning to respond to the needs of clients and the desires of consumers with increasing ingenuity and subterfuge. Paris was an exciting, vibrant city and both high and low society revelled in the absurdities of life itself. Cafés and bars; cabarets; the races; gallery openings - every aspect of the lived experience offered the potential for performance.

Geo Desains for Restaurant Maire, circa 1910

Two statuesque females wearing feathered hats and fur trimmed evening ensembles exude an unmistakable air of Edwardian elegance while an Irish wolfhound makes the perfect accessory to the figure on the right.

Revival Styles
During times of artistic innovation and socio-cultural transformation, revival styles become increasingly popular.  If Victorians looked to the past for design inspiration, those involved in the production of advertising fans also tended to turn their attention toward past epochs, often drawing upon France's rich artistic heritage and eighteenth century art and design.

Duvelleroy for the Elysée Palace Hotel, circa 1905

This example is typical of fan maker Duvelleroy's 'Genre Ancien' fans from this period, borrowing heavily from baroque and rococo decorative details to create an eighteenth century pastiche style, which appealed to more conservative tastes.

Louis Morin for the Carlton Hotel, circa 1910s

The double paper leaf is printed on the recto with a lively illustration of a couple in eighteenth century style costume; the male figure places a kiss upon the hand of the female who holds a fan in her other hand.

‘Fontange’ or balloon shaped fan with stained wooden sticks. Signed ‘Louis Morin’. The verso is printed in monochrome with a diaper of bows and florets and a central cartouche inscribed, ‘With the Compliments of the Carlton Hotel’.

Orientalism, the prevailing artistic style of the period between 1911-1914 was an intoxicating fusion of Chinoiserie, Japonism and Turquerie; the style also 'reinterpreted' Middle Eastern and North African design aesthetics.  Its popularity at this time can be attributed to several key factors: the arrival in Paris in 1909 of the Ballet Russes, the emergence of a new breed of couturier who abandoned the corseted femininity of the Edwardian era, and the rise of an elite band of fashion illustrators who embraced Orientalist aesthetics.

George Barbier for perfume Lubin, 1912

Fontange or balloon shaped fan with painted bone sticks. The double paper leaf is printed on the recto with female figures set within a boudoir furnished in the Ottoman style. Inscribed ‘Lubin – Paris’ and signed and dated ‘G. Barbier, 1912’.

Advertising Fan for Pruniers / Moet & Chandon, 1913

‘Fontange’ or balloon shaped fan with plain wooden sticks. Signed and dated ‘G K Benda, 1913’. The verso is printed with holly sprigs and inscriptions for Moet & Chandon champagne.

The figures, in pseudo-Persian attire, are reminiscent of the Orientalist designs of Paul Poiret (1879-1944). Poiret was one of the leading French couturiers of the Twentieth Century.

Deco Decadence
After the Great War ended, the cities of Europe burst into life with unabashed fervour.  Cafés, cabarets and restaurants became the popular hangouts of 'bright young things' elegantly draped in the latest fashions of Madeleine Vionnet and the Callot sisters.  Printed with imperious looking femme fatales accompanied by soave yet somewhat subservient-looking male counterparts, advertising fans from this period reflect the glamour and decadence of the 'roaring twenties'.

Robert Polack for Batschari Cigarettes, circa 1925

The male figure, adopting a fashionably effete pose, holds a box of matches in one hand while clasping his female companion in a gentle embrace.

She tilts her head to take a light from his cigarette and smoke rises upwards to form the words ‘Cigarettes Batschari’.

Pierre Morgue for Le Grand Teddy, circa 1920

Le Grand Teddy, probably named after President Theodore Roosevelt, was a fashionable American style bar & restaurant located on rue Caumartin, Paris. Morgue's design is the only known representation of the interior of Le Grand Teddy.

This fan appeared in the BBC series ‘Fake or Fortune’ in an episode dedicated to proving the authenticity of one of Vuillard’s ‘Le Grand Teddy’ works. Morgue’s design is the only known representation of the interior of Le Grand Teddy.

Georges Grellet for Hotel Cecil, 1920s

Several female figures in fashionable evening attire are shown seated and standing. The ballroom at Hotel Cecil, with couples dancing, can be seen in the background.

Deco Distilled & Graphic Styles
Graphic artists recognised the fan as a vehicle for some of the most imaginative imagery, transforming it into a portable poster.  The 'fontange' or balloon-shaped fan emerges at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, peaking in the 1920s, with many variations occurring along the way.

A. Lopez for Moet & Chandon, circa 1925-30

The double paper leaf is printed on one side with a stylised illustration of a masked female head with cut out eye holes, with undulating ribbons extending into the reserves; inscribed ‘Champagne – Moet & Chandon’ between two stars.

Éventails Chambrelent
Many of the advertising fans in The Fan Museum's collections were designed and/or manufactured by Éventails Chambrelent.  Founded in 1873 by Elma Leopold Chambrelent, the printing house was sold to his son, Edouard in 1894.  Over the ensuing decades the company became the dominant force in France within the field of printed publicity objects.  The company designed, printed and manufactured not just fans but other publicity objects too, such as hats, umbrellas, children's games and masks.

J Spring for Cognac Sorin, circa 1930s

The double paper leaf is printed on the recto with a chromolithograph of an enamoured Pierrot toasting the night sky with a glass of Cognac Sorin; signed ‘J. Spring’. The verso is printed with promotional inscriptions for Cognac Sorin.

Cheret for Pippermint Get, circa 1930s

This type of fan is known as a cockade 'Frou-Frou' - it opens in a circular motion from the centre. The encasement is printed with an adaptation of an earlier poster design dated circa 1899.

This side features a luminescent female figure pouring a glass of the cool-tasting liquer; signed and dated ‘d’apres J. Cheret, ‘99’.

The other side has an illustration of a bottle. The leaf is made of dyed tissue paper with a central rosette inscribed, ‘Demandez un Get.’ This model is patented.

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