Exotic textile design - From Africa to Thailand


France, Lyon, 1920-30

Possibly by Robert Bonfils

Watercolour and ink on Paper

Two Profiles one Asian and one African amongst luscious vegetation with a sailing boat at sea

These designs are very reminiscent of the artist Robert Bonfils (1886-1972) and might be by him. He was a fabric Designer For Bianchini Ferier ( A lyon based silk manufacturer) but was also a Great graphic artist who contributed illustrations to famous magazines such as the Gazette du Bon Ton. He received the commision to design the front cover of the 1925 Art Deco exhibition (Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes).  His texile Design for the fabric “Oasis “and Also his design For a scarf “la conquete d’Algerie” amongst others are similar to these designs in style and colour.

A Fantastical Exoticism is present here which many artist such as Robert Bonfils,  Raoul Dufy, Charles Dufrene and Jean Beaumont coveted. This exoticism and interest in ancient cultures, the Mayan civilisation and African Art was also very present in theatre such as the famous ballet russes Dance Company of Daghilev and influenced all the other arts. these designs recall the wonderful costumes and scenography created for ballets.

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Twentieth Century Textiles (Part II from Neoclassicism to Pop) Francesca Galloway and Sue Kerry, London 2007, p108

Tissus Art Deco en France, Alain Rene Hardy, Paris, 2001

Victoria And Albert Museum website, textiles L’Afrique and Oasis

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