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.
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)
van Hoytema was also a celebrated children's books illustrator,
September 1908 (detail)
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Unfortunately, as far as I know Cantini is no longer active, but some of these out of print books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.