Italian villas and their gardens

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As the gilded panel proclaims, this book is a collaboration between Edith Wharton and Maxfield Parrish. Italian Villas and their Gardens was published in 1904, and includes many photos of the houses and their grounds in addition to Parrish’s illustrations. The Parrish pictures look at times like unpopulated scenes from his illustrations for children’s books.

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The art of Toshiaki Kato

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Toshiaki Kato isn’t the first contemporary Japanese artist to work variations on Aubrey Beardley’s style but he’s one I’d not come across before. Kato’s cover illustrations run a gamut of familiar styles, not only Beardsley but Harry Clarke, Gustav Klimt, Tamara Lempicka, Maxfield Parrish and no doubt a few more I haven’t recognised. Beardsley’s influence is something I like to follow so it’s the black-and-white work you see here. It’s particularly fascinating seeing Japanese artists playing with Beardsley motifs when so much of Beardsley’s early style was derived from Japanese prints; a rare example of cultural influence finding its way back home after a century or more.

There’s surprisingly little information about Toshiaki Kato on Anglophone websites but scans of his gorgeous paintings proliferate. This page is a good place to start but there’s plenty more at Pinterest and elsewhere.

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Posters: A Critical Study, 1913

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An appraisal of the state of poster design from almost a century ago by Charles Matlack Price. Lots of the names you’d expect from Europe and the United States—Steinlen, Mucha, Beardsley, Will Bradley, Maxfield Parrish, etc—plus a number of examples I hadn’t seen before. Also a surprising scarcity of Italians and Germans. Scroll down for a remarkably advanced dancer with a guitar by Will Bradley from 1895, a design that anticipates the flourishing of Cubism and abstracted graphics a few years later. Price’s book may be browsed here or downloaded here.

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Maxfield Parrish’s Arabian Nights

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Despite spending years tracking down the work of various illustrators I’ve never been as familiar with the major works of Maxfield Parrish as I might. I’ve seen a couple of the plates from this 1909 edition before but the majority are new discoveries. They’re as lucious as you’d expect from Parrish, and for once the paper and inks haven’t been spoiled by age. See all the pages or download the entire book here.

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