Mela Koehler (Austrian, 1885–1960) is one of the few female artists who enjoyed success while alive and her postcards were collectibles during her lifetime. This artist-signed postcard is one of her fashion illustrations. The cream background shows some staining but the fantastic artwork itself of the lady in the fur-trimmed coat is in fine condition. The intricate designs in this lady's clothing from the peacock-feathered hat to the ruffled gown are so eye-catching that one barely notices she has a glass in her hand and is sipping champagne! Typical antique postcard size of about 3.5 by 5.5 inches. Circa 1910. Printed in Austria. In the last photo, you'll see a second version of this fashion card: this one is from the Leonard Lauder collection that you can peruse online at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston web site. If you would like to create your own Koehler collection, I'm happy to help you but fair warning: her cards are highly collectable (translation: tres cher!)
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.) .
Verso: B. K. W. I. 746-5. The Kohn brothers, Solomon, Adolpf and Alfred founded this firm (Bruder Kohn) in 1898 and it soon grew to become the largest publishing house within the Austrian Empire. They produced a wide variety of cards in different mediums but are best known for their many artist signed cards from notables such as Raphael Kirchner, Mela Koehler and Fritz Schonpflug. Their cards are usually only marked with their initials, B.K.W.I. The Weiner Werkstatte commissioned them to print some of their postcards. In 1938 they became an arisierte business (confiscated by the Nazis) and the family would be deported in 1942, eventually meeting their deaths at Auschwitz in 1945. The daughter of Solomon Kohn, Minna Pixner, escaped to England and re-established the firm after the war in 1949. (Thanks to the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York for this information.)
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