I had never heard of Adolf Karpellus until I saw his name on this postcard. At first glance, you might think the children are carrying one large tree, but look again and you'll see that each one has their own branch and the littlest toddler has toddled off in the wrong direction with his small sprig. Note the artist's signature under said toddler. The French text offers a happy new year greeting but those pine branches definitely convey the Christmas vibe. The card was mailed Dec. 15, 1906, in Belgium. The sender is writing to say that he's feeling a little "demoli" (demolished?) but nothing grave.
The cream background shows foxing and a couple of light errant specks, ink smudges. Wear at the corners. No creases and simply darn cute a hundred+ years later!
Typical antique postcard size of about 5.5 by 3.5 inches.
In his day Karpellus was a recognized artist along with Mucha, Kosa, Cheret and the like. Born in Austria in 1869, he died in Vienna in 1919. A brief biological sketch can be found on German and Austrian Wiki sites, but perhaps his early death hindered his continuing fame world wide, like Mucha's. On an Austrian web site, I found this description of Karpellus: "He worked in Vienna as a painter (landscapes, portraits, still lifes, social moral pictures, etc., watercolor "Kaiserwalzer" in the Historical Museum of the City of Vienna) and as an illustrator (especially as a gifted poster artist). Was in the '90s Member of the "sevens club," from which the Secession* developed." Wikipedia Commons shows almost a dozen examples of his work, mostly posters. The German Wiki adds: "He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under Christian Griepenkerl and Josef Mathias Trenkwald and at the Académie Julian in Paris. His areas were portraits, landscapes, still lifes (flower pieces) and genre scenes. In addition, he worked as a postcard painter (motifs of Baumbach and Scheffel for postcards of the German School Association ) and poster painter and as an illustrator (including the Vienna satire magazine "Figaro" ).
*Vienna Secession: art movement formed in 1897 by a group of Austrian artists ... included painters, sculptors, and architects. The first president of the Secession was Gustav Klimt.
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