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George Barbier
L'Oiseau Volage
This is a hand-coloured and plate-signed pochoir from Modes et Manieres d'Aujourd'hui (1914 edition, Plate IV), which was one of the most exclusive "lifestyle" publications to emerge from Paris (1912 to 1922). Its audience was the very wealthy and existing copies are quite rare and highly collectible because of an annual edition size of only 300. This edition was entirely illustrated by Barbier; the sensuous and hedonistic lifestyle portrayed with his characteristic wit and charm, as well as his characteristic painstaking attention to detail. The intense and vibrant pochoir colours convey the vitality of true Art Deco. Each image in this famous series is on fine Japan paper, the choice of quality material echoing the uncompromising elegance of the period. This particular image appears as the cover of Martin Battersby's popular book: "Art Deco Fashion, French Designs 1908-1925", St Martin's Press, N.Y.(1974).The image of the woman freeing a bird from its cage had the universal significance in art of this period as representing the freedom and new equality being afforded to women: they are finally being released from the social, legal and political confinements of their "cage". H.10.75in. X W.7.0in.; H.27.3cm. X W.17.8cm.
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