Book and magazine covers by Modest Stein (1871-1958), a prolific artist for pulp magazines.
Cleora Clark Wheeler studied design at the University of Minnesota (Class of 1902), and at the New York School of Fine and Applied Art (now Parsons). She returned to Minnesota and established her own studio in the family residence in St. Paul. Calling herself a ‘designer-illuminator,’ she did custom bookplates, greeting cards and wedding invitations. She also painted, and then took up photography, and the hand-tinting of photographs.
The work that stopped me in my tracks was “Evening” (1922), shown above, a gelatin silver print with hand-coloring, the photo taken in California. Her photography was exhibited in St. Paul and San Francisco, but it seems her bookplates brought her the most fame.
In her essay, “On Behalf of Accuracy,” she wrote, “The wish to add a touch of beauty as well as a mark of ownership to some well loved book seems the most natural thing in the world.” She also did illustrations for “framed mottoes,” such as the one below, based on Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees.”
“I take my exercise in the form of walking. It keeps me fit and leaves me free to think. In this way I have come to know Paris like my pocket. I have explored its large and little streets, its stateliness and its slums. But most of all I love the Quays, between the leafage and the sunlit Seine. Like shuttles the little steamers dart up and down, weaving the water into patterns of foam. Cigar-shaped barges stream under the lacework of many bridges and make me think of tranquil days and willow-fringed horizons. But what I love most is the stealing in of night, when the sky takes on that strange elusive purple; when eyes turn to the evening star and marvel at its brightness; when the Eiffel Tower becomes a strange, shadowy stairway yearning in impotent effort to the careless moon.”
— From Ballads of a Bohemian (1921) by Robert Service
Service is best known for his poems “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” but he did not spend his entire life in the Yukon. From 1913 to 1928 he lived in Paris where he was said to be the city’s wealthiest author; yet, he often dressed as a working man and walked the streets, blending in and observing. During the winter, he lived in Nice where he met H.G. Wells, Somerset Maugham and James Joyce, and was once lucky enough to have lunch with Colette.
Antique American boards, above and below.
New boards from Grace’s Country Corner, above and below.
A set from Peru
A set from India that seats four, from an installation by Pritika Chowdhry
Two views of an outdoor board at Fatehpur Sikri, India, on which slaves in appropriately colored garb took the place of the pieces. (The table is sitting atop “Home.”)