When I opened the gallery and started buying for it, I went a little nuts (ok, nuttier than usual): I started buying anything which fell into the category of ‘old paper’ – photographs, letters, ephemera of just about any size and shape. I realized that unless I kept focused, I would end up like one of those rolly-polly older ladies on Hoarders: “I just don’t know how it got this bad… really, I just started collecting and then…”
But the truth is I couldn’t limit myself just to posters: there are labels and tins and cartons and all kinds of other period paper that are just too beautiful and special to pass up. So, while I don’t buy old photographs, or letters any more (at least not too often), I happily include vintage labels and advertising ephemera in the L’affichiste treasure trove.
Art Deco ephemera is so quintessentially perfect: the Savonneuse Morris (an advertising tin for the most mundane product: detergent) uses a checkerboard pattern like so much of the best Art Deco interiors (The Greenbrier image via Apartment Therapy), and our little Italian butler hawking Taricco’s Asti (an Italian variation of Champagne), looks just like Buster Keaton in his Battling Butler movie, circa 1926.
The best Art Deco ephemera highlights the bold use of color, the slightly ironic sense of humor, and an overwhelming sense of whimsy… all of these pieces brighten my life and our gallery, and if I did end up as one of those unhinged hoarder types, I presume it would be because I was buried under a pile of Art Deco magazines, cartons, tins and posters.