Rare, iconic, artist signed, absolutely gorgeous Raphael Kirchner postcard featuring an ethereal angel stuffing a lighted Christmas tree down a chimney in front of a blue sky flecked with stars of gold and the greeting "Froehliche Weihnachten" (Merry Christmas). The card was mailed was postmarked Davenport, Iowa on December 20th, 1905 en route to New Haven, Connecticut with a 1902 one cent Benjamin Franklin stamp. This rare Kirchner card is in very good antique condition with a small fold of the upper and lower right corners, a small chip of the upper left corner, some light white marks at chimney area and two small tape marks on the verso. This card was printed in Germany; however, it is stamped/embossed on the bottom left corner with a New York publisher. I can just make out 'publisher New York' with loupes, but I cannot read the name as it is too faintly embossed. I believe the "Froehliche Weihnachten" was likely stamped onto the card after the original printing. My guess is that the postcard was imported from Germany then stamped with the name of the New York publishing company and resold.
Raphael Kirchner 1876-1917
Austrian. b. Vienna
From Metro Postcard's website
After studying the Vienna Academy of fine arts in 1896, Kirchner began his career as a portrait painter but was illustrating postcards as early as 1898. After moving to Paris in 1900 his commercial work became more dominant and he was designing magazine covers and within a year. Most of his postcards were produced in sets, which tend to differ widely stylistically but not in subject. They almost all depict women with his wife Nina, the Kirchner Girl, being the model for many of them. Though his depictions of women range from ordinary portraits to nudes, he gained the reputation of expressing them with a more erotic nuance than most. Some consider his designs as an early form of pin-up. While some cards contain a lot of Art Nouveau decorative elements, others tend to be more realistic. There is even a very popular series influenced by Japonisme. Since not all of his postcards are signed, his constantly changing stylistic elements can make it difficult to determine a genuine Kirchner, especially when other illustrators imitated his popular style. After the outbreak of World War One he moved to the United States where he continued to paint portraits and provide illustrations for Ziegfeld Folly posters and magazines such as Puck. He also designed postcards that were printed in New York and in London. It is believed that he produced over 1000 postcard images that were issued by many different publishers. Kirchner suffered an appendicitis attack while painting a portrait and died of complications just hours after his operation.
1902 Benjamin Franklin 1 cent stamp
Excerpted from Wikipedia (Series of 1902 United States postage stamps)
The Series of 1902, also known as the Second Bureau Issue, is a set of definitive postage stamps in fourteen denominations ranging between one cent and five dollars, produced by the U. S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing and issued by the United States Post Office....This series, particularly noted for its exceptional ornateness and opulence of design, remained in circulation until late 1908, when it was superseded by the Washington-Franklin Issues....Despite its name, the Second Bureau Issue was, in fact, the first definitive series designed exclusively by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing....Also continued in the Series of 1902 was the use of the Universal Postal Union colors required of all member nations on stamps for post cards (green, 1¢), regular mail (red, 2¢) and international mail (blue, 5¢). These were meant to facilitate the easy handling of international mail and had been adopted for the final version of the First Bureau Issue in 1898. 1¢ Green, Benjamin Franklin, issued February 3, 1903, designed by Raymond Ostrander Smith. From a painting by James B. Longacre. The engravers were George F. C. Smillie (portrait and flanking sculptural male figures holding lightbulbs aloft), Robert F. Ponickau (frame) and Lyman F. Ellis (lettering and numerals).
Rare, artist signed, undivided back, Raphael Kirchner postcard angel with Christmas tree
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