Monday, June 24, 2013

Woodland Nymph Teasing Butterfly, circa 1910s

The "Naturist" movement was pervasive during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and, like the common appearance of classical/fantasy romantic imagery on the picture postcard of the time, suggests to us, a turning away of the public imagination from the onslaught of the industrial age, to say nothing of the dark clouds of war, which were gathering over Europe at just about the time we believe this card was published. 

If the term photo-realism is commonly used to describe a particular quality of some paintings, how about we coin the term painterly-fantasticallism for application to this photographic image?

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE Woodland Nymph Teasing Butterfly, Circa 1910s

This wonderful German nude was published by die Neue Photographische Gesellschaft, or NPG. Based in Berlin, NPG was one of the largest international producers of the picture postcard during that period. 

Reverse of Card

Clear Example of NBC Logo
Point of interest: In the "stamp box" on the back side of this card is the somewhat faded logo of the "NBC," Neue Bromsilber Convention, or the "New Silver-bromide Convention." Whenever this logo is found on a card, we can date its production to sometime after August of 1909, when the NBC was initially convened.

The NBC was, for lack of a better term, a cartel (one of many, actually), established by a large number of German publishers of silver-bromide print photo postcards, whose intent was to control prices and maintain a competitive edge. This might be called "price fixing" today, and perhaps a blatant violation of today's trade laws, but was quite common during this period. An indication of the strength of this cartel within the industry is the great frequency with which we run into cards bearing this imprint.

Also, just for fun, it's worth noting the design of the logo itself, a blazing sun within an equilateral triangle, which was printed in a variety of colors. Like the classic eye in the triangle, this symbol is often closely associated with occult, or "secret" societies. Ah, nothing like a little conspiracy with our morning coffee. :)

In dating this card, our guess is sometime in the early 1910s. The NBC, as we wrote above, dates from 1909, and apparently was still in operation by the early 1930s, so we can only rely on our own personal experience to fix an approximate date of issue. As always, any corrections we receive from readers are not just appreciated, but sincerely requested! We often draw our information from a huge swirling mass of sources called by our sons, "teh interwebs." These sources often offer us contradictory information so any help in the navigation of these storm-tossed depths is always most welcome. 

The absolutely wonderful site from which we drew all of our information on the NBC cartel, The Postcard Album, also lists an NPG logo for the publisher. The NPG logo they display is 
from the 1920s and very similar to the one on this card, but the NPG logo on the front of our card differs in certain respects, and without specific evidence to the contrary we have to trust our eyes. This image looks pre-1920s to us.