Sunday, April 27, 2014

Unfolding Pictures: The Georges Barbier Fan, 1912

Hand Fan
Georges Barbier and Madame Paquin
French, 1911
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Georges Barbier (1882-1932), a celebrated Parisian fashion illustrator of the early Twentieth Century, collaborated with the most avant-garde fashion designers in France at the time. Barbier worked with such famous names as Paul Poiret and Madame Paquin (1869-1936) whose elaborate oriental costumes for the Ballets Russes tremendously influenced fashion in the 1910s.

Madame Paquin and Barbier worked together to design a series of fans on that Eastern theme. This decorated fan of printed and hand-colored paper and hand-painted silk is an example of the collaboration. Looking ahead to the designs which would dominate the Art Deco ideals of the 1920s, the fan features sticks and guards of bone which have been adorned with painted grapes and butterflies. Tassels of mulit-colored silks hanf from the gold rivet. A woman is also depicted. She wears a headdress which is identical to one which was designed by Madame Paquin. When folded, this fan, made in 1911, displays a zig-zag pattern betwe
en the guards.  

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