Monday, 26 October 2015

E A Seguy: Butterflies Through Others Eyes #13

These beautiful butterfly designs are the work of E A (Eugene Alain) Seguy (1889-1985), who was a designer working in France at the beginning of the 20th century. Seguy's style incorporated elements of both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements, which you will know I am a big fan of if you regularly read this blog. 

Seguy's artwork utilised a technique known as pochoir, which was a printing process that used a series of stencils to produce dense layers of vivid colour. The pochoir process sees the artist/designer applying pigment to paper by using stencils. The image was first created by the artist in watercolour or gouache. This would then determine the number of colours and stencils needed. Once the number of stencils was decided they would be cut from materials such as copper, zinc or cardboard and the paint would be applied through the stencil by brushes. Although it is a simple concept, the pochoir technique could be complex with some images requiring as many as 100 stencils to produce just one print. The pochoir technique fell out of fashion due to the expense, as well as labour intensity in producing the prints. The pochoir technique was replaced by the popularity of the lithographic process. 

The repeat pattern designs above, demonstrate the vibrancy of Seguy's palette, and also the vividness and accuracy of colours produced when the pochoir technique was employed. They are also a good demonstration of Seguy's understanding of how repeat patterns work. Like Sonia Delauney's work in my previous post, I could see these used as wallpaper/fabric/fashion designs. Seguy took his inspiration from nature and produced 11 albums of  illustrations and textile pattern designs that featured crystals, flowers and animals. It was his Papillon album though, which was to become the most popular and the focus for this post, the latest in my Butterflies Through Others Eyes series. Further examples from Seguy's wonderfully inspirational Papillons folio can be seen below.