The Stamp of Fantasy
04 Mar - 18 May 2008
The visual inventiveness of photographic postcards
This exhibition, “La Photographie timbrée”, looks at what, several years before the illustrated press or the book, was the first medium for the mass distribution of photography: the postcard.
By 1900, photographic postcards had become hugely popular. In addition to views of towns and villages, publishers offered a selection of more amusing images known as “fantasy postcards”, a category that included greetings cards, April Fool's Day cards, illustrations of proverbs and imaginary, comic or even erotic scenes.
In order to produce these visual curiosities, the photographers employed by publishers used a whole range of special effects such as montage, overprinting, optical deformation and close-ups that were already well known to professionals but much more mysterious to the general public. This exhibition explores the extraordinary blossoming of visual invention in the postcard industry during the first decades of the 20th century.
The exhibition features over 500 postcards as well as a selection of works by Man Ray, Erwin Blumenfeld, Giacomo Balla, Johannes Theodor Baargeld, Maurice Tabard, Herbert Bayer, El Lissitzky, André Kertesz, Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzky, Gustav Klutsis, Grete Stern, Hannah Höch, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Paul Citroën, André Breton, Paul Eluard, Georges Hugnet, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Robert Desnos, Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, Pablo Picasso, Hans Arp, Oscar Dominguez, Dora Maar, Hans Bellmer, Meret Oppenheim, Roland Penrose and Yves Tanguy, who used postcards as material or as models for their work.