The prints are representative of Art Nouveau style in a variety of ways. For example the sinuous lines, incorporation of naturalistic motifs, pale female figures in draped flowing gowns, and nude figures, are typical of the style. In addition, like other Art Nouveau works, these images were clearly influenced by Japanese prints.
Arsène Herbinier was a lithograph artist, born in Paris and a student of L.O. Merson, Eugene Grasset and Broquelet. He was a member of the Salon of the Society of French Artists (also known as the Salon de Paris) until 1909. Armand Guérinet edited and published numerous collections of illustrated decorative arts, architecture, and fashion books in the first three decades of the 20th century.
Collections of prints like these were popular at the turn of the century, providing source material for designers of fabrics, wallpaper, ceramics, book illustrations, posters, and advertisements. The leading Victorian publication of this type was Owen Jones’s Grammar of Ornament, first issued in a folio edition in London in 1856. Other trendsetting styles in art, design, decoration and fashion came from Paris. The best know are probably the works by Émile-Alain Séguy incorporating butterfly and insect motifs, and those by Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), a professor of zoology, at the University of Jena, Germany. Haeckel’s scientific illustrations depicted aquatic organisms such as radiolarians, jellyfish, sea urchins and so forth in flowing, aesthetically striking compositions, such as were included in his work Kunstformen der Natur [Art Forms in Nature] (1899-1904). Other prolific publishers of this type of work were Anton Seder, Armand Guérinet and Arsène Herbinier. Closely related to Seder’s renditions of aquatic motifs were the designs of Emile Belet. Indeed, various works by Séguy, Herbinier and Belet appeared together in a collection of color plates published in 1900 by Guerinet titled Peinture d’Art Nouveau, 3e série. In the summer of 2004, the Museum at FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology) exhibited a print by Herbinier in a similar style, also published by A. Guérinet, from a collection called Frises, bordures, panneaux au pochoir [Friezes, borders, and panels in pochoir].
Condition: Generally very good with the usual light overall toning, handling, soft creases, wear. Edges with a bit of wear and few short tears, can be matted out.
Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 4, p. 667.
“The Art of Pattern, Line and Design.” The Artful Line: Drawings & Prints from FIT’s Special Collections of the Gladys Marcus Library. (image upper right) http://www3.fitnyc.edu/museum/artful_line/pattern.htm (9 December 2004).