This illustration of a Victorian couple in a yellow carriage is drawn in such a distinctive style that I was determined to find out who the artist was. Max Munk of Vienna, Austria, was keen on printing quality postcards but apparently he didn't lose any sleep over not crediting the artist! After an extensive and frustrating online search, I'm happy to say that my OCD ways paid off. This is a rare, hard to find postcard but I finally located one other copy: at the MFA of Boston! Although museum does not have Leonard Lauder's 50,000+ postcard collection exhibited, they do offer online access to the collection and this card, titled "A Couple Go for a Ride," bears the notation: "Attributed to Mela Koehler (Austrian, 1885–1960)." This card has no creases but it does have album impressions at the corners, a few errant specks inherent to the printing and one oddity I can't explain. There is a dark yellow line that runs down the back of the carriage. Nonetheless, I still think this card is in overall very good antique condition. Virtually no soiling of the light background and border, which is so often what ruins these lovely cards. I admit my bias because I'm a big Mela Koehler fan. (What dark line? It's Mela Koehler!:) She is one of the few artists who enjoyed success while alive and her postcards were collectibles during her lifetime. Koehler was a painter, children's book illustrator, printmaker and fabric designer who was closely associated with the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops). In 1907 she was invited to produce postcard designs for the Wiener Werkstätte while she was still a student, and she became their most prolific designer, producing more than 150 postcards in 5 years. (Thanks to the British blog site We Are Not a Muse for this information.)
Size: typical antique postcard size of about 5.5 by 3.5 inches. Oh, there is another little quirk about the card: the backside is printed upside down! I have rotated the scan to make it easy to read, but it is upside down on the card. Notice also that it is an undivided back, which dates its printing to 1903 or earlier. Perhaps this is why Mr. Munk didn't credit Ms. Koehler -- she was "only" an 18-year-old art student!
UPDATE: While I would hesitate to argue with a postcard collector the likes of Mr. Lauder, based on my own research and comparison with other postcards, I believe that this illustration is not by Mela Koehler, but another Austrian painter, Alice Wanke (1873 - 1939). Compare this card to the other Alice Wanke cards I have available and I think you'll see why I reached that conclusion.
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