What makes this collection so special to me isn't just that the cards are unused, but that the series of 20 Georges Stein Paris scenes are in their original packaging they were sold in a century ago. Is there such a thing as "1900s new"? The store's purple ink stamping is still on the onion skin envelope! I couldn't find any online history about the store itself, but I did find a photograph dated 1919 taken of the shop Aux Jouets Modernes, No. 41 at Passage Jouffroy. Paris "passages" were the first shopping malls. These 20 cards do not represent all of Stein's Paris scenes, but it's certainly an impressive beginning for the collector and love of Impressionism, with a feminist vibe. That's what I love about Stein: she often featured independent female figures in her scenes. This set includes the Paris hot spots such as Maxim's, the famous windmill of the Red Light district and Folie's Bergere. New to me in this collection is the dusky scene of Rue de la Paix (Street of Peace.) The Opera House and Trocadéro are other favorites. I don't have enough photo slots to include direct scans of all 20 cards, but between scans available and the photos, you'll see how Stein captured the essence of Belle Epoque Paris. Each card is unused, about 5.5 by 3.5 inches. Hint of yellowing verso on some of the cards. Overall, mint antique condition. The envelope is torn and shows wear but still an authentic part of this ephemera treasure. With the divided back, we know these cards were printed in 1904 or later. Neudin's "Les Meilleurs Cartes Postales d'Illustrateurs" lists Stein's career at its height at 1910. I feel confident in dating these cards to pre-WWI. Interesting trivia about Stein: in some circles it is debated as to whether or not the painter was a he or a she and while 1870 or thereabouts is generally given as her birth date, the date of her death ranges from 1918, 1930 to 1955!
Thanks to Wikipedia for this historical information: Built in 1845, the Passage Jouffroy represents an important stage in the technological evolution of the 19th century and the mastery of iron structures. It is the first Parisian passage built entirely of metal and glass. Only the decorative elements are wooden. It is also the first passage heated by the ground.
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