Sunday, January 10, 2010

Centenary birds

January 1910 (detail)

A couple of months ago I bought a book about Theo van Hoytema's beautiful 
lithographic Art Nouveau calendars and have been wanting to post about them ever since. 
Yesterday I finally got around to scanning some of the pictures, and then discovered that
 on the day before the beautifully curated blog Japonisme had worked on a similar idea
 (BTW, these intriguing web synchronicities are occurring very often these days... 
I wonder if other bloggers share the same experience). In fact, the remarkable and ambitious
 project of Japonisme is to upload the entire series of 17 calendars that van Hoytema produced
 between 1902 and 1917 (the 1918 calendar was published after his death). I encourage you
 to check out the first post with the complete 1902 edition, including the image below
 surrounded by its beautiful snowy decorative frame. I'll limit Animalarium's contribution
 to the subject to these gorgeous birds, one of van Hoytema's favorite subjects.

December 1902 (detail)

January 1905 (detail)

As an adolescent Theo van Hoytema loved animals, and was fascinated by illustrated books on
 entomology and natural history. Having noticed this, in 1888 his uncle A.P.M. van Oordt, a publisher
 and typographer, commissioned him to draw some illustrations for scientific publications on zoology.
 To accomplish the job, Theo went to study and sketch the animals at Leiden's Museum of Zoology
 and perfected his lithographic technique. This experience marked the beginning of his career
 as a serious artist, and in a few years' time, he became internationally known as one of
 the most original interpreters of the Nieuwe Kunst, the Dutch version of Art Nouveau.

July 1905 (detail)

March 1906 (detail)

June 1908

van Hoytema was also a celebrated children's books illustrator,
and you can see some of the lovely artwork from his 1895 book Uilen-Geluk here.

September 1908 (detail)

April 1910

February 1915

The book from which these images are taken is Theodoor van Hoytema – Calendari by Ezio Godoli. 
It was published in 1989 by Cantini Editore, a Florentine publisher who in the 1980s–90s produced
 some really nice and well documented illustrated books about art, illustration, fashion and ephemera.
 Unfortunately, as far as I know Cantini is no longer active, but some of these out of print books
 can be found at bargain prices in used bookstores around the city and on the web.


  1. i really love your blog.
    thanks for all of the great posts

  2. what a wonderful post! and thanks for the kind words. amazing to find someone else with that book! wish i had a scanner. I photograph the pages then try to make them look halfway decent. would you mind terribly if i used those of your scans that i don't already have good images for?

    where did you find the bio? judging by where you live, i guess you speak italian. duh. :^) is this translated from the book? sadly, i speak neither dutch nor italian, and have been amazed at the fact that there are only the slightest bits and pieces in english.

    may i quote you as well? (with appropriate links, of course!)

    so, thanks again!

  3. Amazing.

    And damn to I need to catch up on japonisme!

  4. Ah Laura, his work is magnificent! Wow, would you take a look at that owl... it is particularly exciting. Thank you for all this great information and the links.

    p.s. Your new mast design is fantastic... forgive me for not telling you that sooner!

  5. many thanks for your nice comments, I am very glad you guys like this great and quite unknown artist too...



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