on 30 October 2012
An amazingly inspiring book, beautifully printed, ideal for any designers and illustrators. It's not text heavy, and concentrates on artwork rather than information, but is a real treat for the eyes and a fantastic source of inspiration. This is a bilingual edition in Japanese and English.
on 21 February 2012
This is a truly charming book, and I am absolutely delighted with it. I have other books about Barbier which touch on his work from Dover Publications but this is the one I think I have been waiting for. I have the Martorelli catalogue on order and when it comes, it is going to have to go to a long way to beat this, just in terms of the pleasure it seems to take in itself. It is not a scholarly tome and those looking for penetrating, contextual analysis should look elsewhere, maybe the Martorelli book, I will have to find out. But this is a book very much in the spirit of its subject matter. The whole way that it has been put together, the layout, the binding and the paper quality as well as the printing represent a total commitment to the subject matter. Soft paper, with a loose slip cover, printing that suggests screen printing rather than more modern processes. It is ever so slightly `camp' and that is entirely appropriate. This book actually has a character, something about the weight and balance of it seems to make it belong on a sun-drenched, linen table cloth next to a hammock in Sergei Diaghilev's garden. Everywhere in my home looks a bit too grubby for it. I know, by now I must be sounding pretty camp, but anyone who buy's this book will understand exactly what I mean the moment it comes out of the Amazon box, especially if they have an interest in Graphic Design. And, let's face it, who else is going to buy it? It is very much a book to inspire rather than instruct. It presents a detailed and colourful cross section of the work of an artist whose output remained pretty constant in both quality and style though out his relatively short lifetime. There are a lot of things that I have never seen before even online, where it seems one finds most Barbier stuff these days. The number of elegant vignettes and details which have been pressed into service to illuminate the pages makes it look like the designers had a lot of fun putting it together. The original text is in Japanese and as I am not a Japanese reader so I cannot comment on the authorship and style but I will say that English text as, far as I have read, is well enough redacted, to present a smooth read, although the content won't offer any surprises to anyone with even a passing acquaintance with early 20th century European art or graphics. But it isn't that kind of book, it is a celebration and its fun and I love it.
on 5 February 2014
Many years ago, browsing inside a big news-paper store in the centre of Athens, I saw a magazine about astrology who had as a gift a deck of cards named "the Sibylla cards" (something like Taro). and the box had an image of exquisite beauty.. I bought it. The images were drawings from Georges Barbier and Erte. I looked everywhere to find a book about Barbier and I found this book on e-Bay, used, at the forbidden price of 300 U.S. dollars. When I saw it on Amazon, I pre-ordered it and now it is mine. The paper is non reflective to light -you can look at the book under the direct light of the blinding greek sun- and non transparent -you cannot see the slightest shadow of what is printed in the next page. All pages have contours with geometric motifs and flowers on top of the motif. Sometimes they have curtains inside the contour and a chandelier hanging in the middle of the page -like on a theatrical stage. More than one thousand different guarlands of flowers appear throughout the book. Everything is Barbier from top to bottom, the work of a perfectionist who adored women and depicted them in gloryfying moments, not only wearing wonderful clothes but in an coplete environment, according to the theme of the drawing or the name of the gown, which means the complete pavillion with the trees, the sea-side cabins and the sea, the ballroom and the waiters and the champaigne glasses, whatever it is required to complete the surrounding of a woman's moment in life. Of course, the author is japanese, chinese, korean, something from the Far-East, so the texts are mostly "chinese" to western citizens - I would say "greek", but I am greek and greek does not mean "difficult" to me. Bottom line: one-of-a-kind book.