Tuesday, August 18, 2015

There's Something about a Bernhardt Wall Jack-o'-Lantern...

Gibson artist Bernhardt Wall died in 1956.

He was a rather old man by then, having been born in 1872.

He was a Gibson artist who designed more than 5,000 postcards and was known as the "Postcard King" during his lifetime.

So if you've looked at old postcards in a flea market, you've almost certainly seen his work.

I like the zest of his Halloween cards, his brash use of jarring color and his playful sense of composition.

Wall's anthropomorphic jack-o'-lanterns are pretty distinctive.

Unfortunately, when you do a Google search for his work, you will see some cards featuring pretty awful racial stereotypes. This is a small number of his cards and they don't seem to be particularly malicious. But they are offensive. I know a lot of black collectors love those sorts of things. For example, S. Epatha Merkerson has a large collection of this sort of artistic production, and has a great explanation of why she collects such works. (I just found this out because she was featured in a design book I recently read about showcasing one's collections.)

Here are a just a few of the Wall postcards that caught my eye just now. If you do a Google image search, you'll find thousands more. He illustrated all the holidays and designed occasional cards as well.

The card with the raven pun is probably not actually a Halloween card, but it seemed to fit the holiday thematically (via Poe).

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