Thursday, January 13, 2011

Playgrounds of the World 1955-1960

I bought this series of "travel" prints a while ago. I always liked vintage travel art and illustration from the 1950-late sixties era which was the great  era of illustration before photography took over in advertising.  
The artist is Frans Van Lamsweerde, a Dutch illustrator who moved to Southern California in 1950. He did book and magazine illustration and made time for what he called "Overseas Study Tours" which resulted in a series of paintings known as the "Playground of the World" series. 
 FIrst up, Hong Kong. 

These prints from the series of paintings were reproduced by Brown & Bigelow's unique color-etch process and presented as Christmas gifts to the calendar-maker's special customers. There were also sold in portfolios.

Bermuda detail of divers on coral reef
Monte Carlo
The paintings were reproduced on foil by a color-etch 
process that enhances the striking detail.
This carnaval Parade in Rio is a riot of color 
and movement
This is the full size image of Rio
I'm not sure why Vienna is part
 of the playgrounds of the world series.
 Vienna had legalized gambling
which may account for it.
Vienna detail of horse and carriage and a flight of doves
Zermatt Switzerland
Zermatt detail of skiers and landscape.
 Note the wall decoration on the inn
The seller told me the head of the firm had kept first impression prints of all the work by commissioned artists. Some of them were matted by the seller and all of them remain in their shrinkwrap so my photos may not do justice. I have one framed (Zermatt, Switzerland) and hung over my bureau. 
My idea when I first saw them was to use in a powder room where some sparkle and flash is not out of place. I'm still reserving them for use in a future powder room where I think their color and shine will add that eccentric touch and flair. 

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