News from
Office of Communications
Stanhope Hall
Princeton, New Jersey 08544-5264
Telephone 609-258-3601; Fax 609-258-1301 

Contact: Dale Roylance, 609-258-3184

Oct. 10, 2000 

Art deco exhibition opens at Princeton University Library

Princeton, N.J. -- One of Art Deco's most vivid legacies, the printmaking technique known as pochoir, is the subject of an exhibition running Oct. 15 through April 8, 2001 in the Leonard L. Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts at Princeton University's Firestone Library. Entitled "Art Deco Paris: 1900-1925," the exhibition captures not only a little known art form but the sensuous spirit of affluent society in the first quarter of the 20th century.

Collector and philanthropist Mitchell Wolfson, Jr., whose passionate interest in the ties between art and design and human experience in the modern age gave birth to the Miami Beach museum that bears his name, will inaugurate the exhibition with a public lecture entitled "The Perversity of Collecting" at 3 p.m. Sunday, October 15 in the Betts Auditorium at Princeton University's School of Architecture

The approximately 100 original color prints in "Art Deco Paris" document the uninhibited era that gave us jazz, the tango, high fashion, and modern art. The pochoir process, which involved the manual application of gouache or watercolor pigments through the medium of stencils, was itself an intriguing marriage of commerce and art; of originality and mass production. At its height, there were some 30 pochoir studios in Paris employing a small army of workers around the clock, mostly women and children, who laboriously applied as many as 100 variations of color to a single print.

The vibrant colors and flamboyant designs that distinguished Art Deco, together with pochoir's Japanese heritage and contribution to modernism, are well-illustrated. Curator Dale Roylance, whose respect for pochoir is evident in both the exhibition and a 75-page, full-color catalog (available for $20), has highlighted a number of themes, including the emergence of the female identity, the lure of the exotic, and the role of music and dance.

Visitors will be struck by an arresting image of Josephine Baker atop a piano when Harlem met Paris in 1925; Henri Matisse's beautiful pochoir folio, Jazz; the languid figures of George Barbier, redolent of jaded wealth; and the fashion plates that proclaimed the arrival of haute couture. Through these unique prints, Roylance tells the story of a world that defied convention and laid many of the foundations for our own.

The exhibition is open to the public without charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, noon to 5 p.m. on weekends, and until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. For additional information concerning the exhibition or to order a catalog, contact the Princeton University Library at (609) 258-5049.

Images for reproduction are available at: