26 December 2013

Raphael Kirchner: A Hard-Boiled Holiday

Before there was the 'Vargas Girl' there was the Kirchner Woman.  Raphael Kirchner (1876 - 1917) was a popular illustrator and a purveyor of the popular genre of erotica  known as cheesecake.  Thanks to advances in color printing the postcard, along with the poster and the illustrated magazine, were the phone apps of their day, distributed far and wide.  I suspect that Kirchner's erotic photographs were never sent through the public post as they are of an altogether more directly arousing intent.  Being European, the Kirchner woman was ginger-haired and full of ginger, the sort who would not hesitate to stuff a yule tree down a chimney.  The state of her virtue was as evanescent as her garments, as in 'now you see it, now you don't.'
Raphael Kirchner was born in Vienna but, like many artists of late 19th century, he moved to Paris in 1900 , then the center of the art world.  He is known to have produced more than one thousand illustrations, many of which are now in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, thanks to the beneficence of the omnivorous postcard collector Leonard Lauder. 

1. Raphael Kirchner - Angel Putting a Christmas Tree Down the Chimney, 1903, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
2. Raphael Kirchner  - Byrrh !, 1906, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


Hels said...

Gorgeous stuff :)

I think that Kirchner was fortunate, living and working at a time when Art Nouveau was full of flowing, floral-filled young women. He may have added his own element of sexually suggestive material, but I bet he found a ready audience for his art.

But why did he die at such a young age?

Tania said...

Very graceful ! Best wishes, Jane.

Jane said...

Hels, if you check out the Kirchner collection at www.mfa.org, it runs the gamut from sweetly naughty to raunchy. I haven't tracked down any information about Kirchner's death, other than that he was living in New York at the time. Maybe some knowledgeable reader will solve this mystery for us. (I bet Leonard Lauder isn't the only man out there collecting Kirchners!)

Jane said...

Tania, this one is charming, is it not? Bonne Annee.

Jane said...

According to the website www.dellaquila.net,Kirchner died on August 2, 1917 from an appendicitis attack.