website stats

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Not safe for work

This Albert Nipon tie is one of the best Art Deco ties I've ever seen; it is reminiscent but not imitative of the ubiquitous work of the King of Art Deco Design, Erté. The central "queen" has three courtesans suspended from each arm, all depicted using the Art Deco staples of opulence and angularity. But what really elevates this tableau to the sublime is the sinuous golden smoke rising above the party, mysterious and Mephistophelean. What a great touch! Unfortunately, I can't wear this tie to work, because the tiny courtesans are topless! The women in the chorus line across the top of the tie are topless as well. (Click on the image to see a larger version, if you wish.) I don't want to do anything that might create a Hostile Work Environment, so I must refrain from any display of naked female anatomy on my clothing at work. Naked male anatomy too, for that matter. But this tie deserves an audience, so here it is! I guess I'll have to wait for another wedding to wear it. (I would love to know who actually designed this; please post a comment or send me an email if you know.)

In other Art Deco news, one of my favorite publishers, Tartarus Press, has just published a biography of British Art Deco artist Beresford Egan by Adrian Woodhouse, which includes 79 black-and-white and 25 color illustrations. It's rather pricey, but Tartarus makes beautiful books (mostly reprints and original collections of stately weird fiction), and the sample illustrations are marvelous. More of Egan's work can be seen here. Egan's art seems (to me) to share some stylistic elements with Aubrey Beardsley, and a lot of thematic elements. Wallace Smith's fantastic scratchboard illustrations for Ben Hecht's decadent 1922 novel Fantazius Mallare (for which Smith was jailed!) are also in the same vein. Contemporary artist Gerald Gaubert continues in this exquisitely macabre style, but online images are scarce; he produced the excellent covert art for Falling Into Heaven by L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims from Sarob Press, and has provided numerous illustrations to various UK weird fiction journals and chapbooks. I hope to see a lot more from him.

No comments: