Remembrance of Things Past – Repeatedly
Why is it my heart soars over those things of the past? The Budhhists advocate living in the “now,” but I always find myself shadowing those paths leading back to long ago. Someone once mused that “Nostalgia is a seductive liar.” Perhaps that is so. Maybe it’s the mist of memory that captivates, creating a yearning that can never be filled.
When I think of the blogs and books I read that consume my days and nights many of them celebrate other times, places, and people. And these are not wholly confined to fictionalized accounts. I remember taking a class once from a remarkable woman who insisted that in order to understand a life well lived, one had to absorb biographies and autobiographies, for nothing was more instructive in navigating the hazards of existence. Thus, she would speak with great affection for Hemingway, Lincoln, Thoreau and Proust, among others, as though they were the most intimate of friends.
I share my instructor’s love and fascination for those only known through the page or the lens of history and wanted to pass on a name who you may not know, but will surely recognize, for the legacy left behind. It is that of the hugely talented Spanish artist-illustrator Eduardo Garcia Benito.
Benito belonged to Vogue’s exclusive group of illustrators known as the “Beaux Brummels of the Brush.” (An upcoming post will feature more about him and his work). Conde Nast had been keenly aware of this talented group, Benito in particular, since the mid-1910s, but it wasn’t until the 1920’s that he hit his artistic stride becoming one of Vogue and Vanity Fair’s most important artists for over two decades.
This newly released book Paris Vogue Covers: 1920-2009 documents in one volume some ninety years’ worth of iconic Paris Vogue covers, both illustrated and photographic. It is a thing of beauty that includes much of Benito’s work, along with some of the greatest artists and photographers of the era: Lepape, Gruau, Man Ray, Steichen, Newton, Bourdin, and Testino.
“Vogue is eccentric,
Vogue is provocative
it breaks with convention.”
A magazine that has documented trends for nearly a century provides an archive full of more than pretty pictures: these images record the history of style and chic, of trends in fashion and design, as well as the month-to-month whims of popular culture.
I feel certain that Paris Vogue Covers: 1920-2009 is as anxious to appear on my bookshelf as I am to make its acquaintance. So, once again I will fill an inordinate amount of hours pursuing my guilty pleasure of reading all that is past. Perhaps the Buddhists might find comfort in the nirvana I am sure to experience, not to mention the karmic effects of witnessing all this unsurpassed beauty.
Top: Edurado Garcia Benito: Vogue Paris: Feb 1929
Bottom: Book Cover