A presentation copy, signed and dated by the artist, of a fabulous and enigmatic work by the French Art Deco painter, decorator and entomologist Émile Allain Séguy (1877-1951) (not to be confused with the dipterologist Eugène Séguy (1890-1985) - see Young for details, including the ‘invented’ middle name of Eugène Séguy). This work is even somewhat rarer than his very similar sized and styled work on papillons (butterflies). The first 16 plates contain much-enlarged, finely detailed insects (the majority being Coleoptera); the last four have patterns, presumably for wallpaper or curtain designs, based on these figures. “Simply stated, pochoir is the French word for stencil. In the 1920’s and 30’s Art Deco era, the colour application process of the stencil was rejuvenated by the French, bringing color illustration processes for books and prints to new glorious heights. This interest in exploring the stencil process came in reaction to the proliferation of machine printing and the poor quality of color reproductions in publishing. With pochoir printing, the hand application of layers of pigment created dazzling effects that the camera or printing press could never replicate. Earlier stencil works, typically used for decorative surface ornament were quite primitive, with applied color areas outlined by the supporting cutout framework. New experimental techniques in pochoir refined the process using multiple layers of color applications for a single print. Pochoir printing was also easily combined with images made by lithography, woodcut, wood engraving, line drawings, or etchings, thus turning a decorative technique into fine art” (RISD library website). The insects are absolutely spectacular, but they are not fantasies. Hence this work is listed in Nissen's Die zoologische Buchillustration
. Nissen dates the work from 1926. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the date is 1929, but this is not substantiated. This copy signed and dated, in the top margin of the title page: "Pour Colette Gueden / la Fée primavera / Son ami E A Seguy / Juillet 39". Colette Gueden (1905-2000) was a French designer associated with Primavera, the design studio of the famous department store chain Printemps, which is still active - and succesful - today. "The workshop aimed to provide furniture and objects of modern style to affordable prices to everyone. Colette Gueden, which defined her work as "tabletterie" (a form of high-end creative wood-turning ), directed her early research into new materials (horn, glass, metal, mother of pearl). Her style can be placed under the heading "fantasy". This "fantasy" applied brilliantly to all projects: wallpapers, jewelry, ornaments and especially in ceramics. In the mid-30s, Colette she created table services on the themes of 'Monuments of Paris' & the 'Coast of France'. In the 1940's she created at Saint-Leu-la-Foret a series of busts and female faces partially glazed decorated with shells and gently wavy hair.
In the 50's Colette Gueden she was able to adapt easily to new trends and was surrounded by a team of young designers fresh out of art schools: Alain Le Foll, Geneviève Pons, Peter Broc who helped organize small fairs in the spring (from 1950 to 1967) on various topics "Plein Air", "Galot Spring", "Alcove". Gueden Colette made drawings for ceramics that were created elsewhere by Pol Chambost, the workshops in Vallauris or those of Limoges. She also received prestigious commissions: she designed furniture for President Vincent Auriol, for the steamer La Marseillaise (1949) she created large bas-reliefs decorated with still life. Colette Gueden worked on at Primavera until 1972" (Magen H Gallery website). The portfolio cover slightly age-toned; the plate edges with some toning and some staining (far from the printed surfaces). In all a very good, complete copy, with brightly coloured, attractive illustrations, and absolutely unique with a great provenance. Nissen ZBI, 3796; Young, Insect men
(designobserver website, 27.V.2015). Not in Schneider-Henn.