Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Exhibitions (2): Transatlantiques at the Musée de l'mprimerie de Lyon

In April, I was privileged to go to the opening of Transatlantiques: l'épopée graphique des paquebots de légende at the Musée de l'Imprimerie in Lyon. Dr Alan Marshall, director of the museum, has been a staunch advocate of ephemera for many years. His 2001 exhibition, Ephemera: les imprimés de tous les jours 1880-1939 was a trail-blazer and introduced a dazzling display of ephemera to the public mainly through four printers'archives: those of Imprimeries Audin, Gougenheim, Perreyon (all of Lyon), and A. Waton (St. Etienne). The excellent catalogue is still available at the museum.   Alan followed this (in terms of ephemera) with Couleurs, les prouesses de la chromolithographie, an exhibition curated by Prof.. Michael Twyman, world expert in lithography and ephemera.  Furthermore, the permanent displays of the museum include many examples of ephemera. These are, of course, a selection from very rich research collections.

Transatlantiques runs from Wednesday to Sunday until 1 September 2013 and is co-curated by Clémence Ducroix  and Alan Marshall. The exhibits are not from the museum's own collections but from l'Association French Lines, Le Havre, of which Mme Ducroix is the archivist.

Poster by Jan Auvigne. (C) Association French Lines
 An exhibition of ocean liner ephemera in Lyon?  The connection is not the sea, but printing. The stunning display of prints, forms, menus, brochures, leaflets, ships newspapers, posters, tickets, labels, wrappers and all sorts of promotional material shows what printing was necessitated by the running of transatlantic boats, ships and liners.  Through this angle, we begin to comprehend just how much was required to administer and promote these complicated companies.  Much was printed on shore, some on board, and there are large images of both printing operations.

The catalogue is co-authored by the curators and documents the history of the Compagnie Générale  Transatlantique, and the emergence of graphic art.for publicity.

Another exhibition of collections from l'Association French Lines has just opened in Evian. Légendes des mers. L'art de vivre à bord des paquebots runs from15 June to 22 September 2013.

The French Lines archive is currently being catalogued. On the website, there is a list of the main categories and also sample images.

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