Featured Pochoir Design Portfolios: Séguy
Pochoir is a technique of printing and coloring that employs stencils, with which a skilled colorist might reproduce original watercolors, designs, and works of art. The tools of this technique, fine blades and brushes of varying sizes, allow for bold blocks of color as well as subtle detail and precise line to be applied as part of the same process. Beautiful pochoir illustration can be achieved with watercolor, dyes, or gouaches applied to black and white outline prints or drawings through stencils cut from a metal plate, acetate, or strong paper. It was popularized in France by Jean Saudé in the early 20th century, who saw that the applications of using stencils and brushes to reproduce works of ancient and modern art extended to book arts, printing and publishing. Not only does pochoir give us a faithful reproduction of the coloring of an original artwork, but it also allows for the brilliant ranges of color and clean lines that lend themselves especially well to Art Deco textile pattern and design. The pochoir technique is represented in many of our currently available design portfolios, including those by E.A. Séguy.
In Séguy’s Papillons (1925-28), pochoir coloring is used to give movement, vibrancy, and a certain transparency to the wings of the eighty-one scientific illustrations of different species depicted in his compositions. Following these scientific renderings are ornamental compositions that show the design implications of Séguy’s more literal naturalist drawings. Trained in etymology, Séguy uses his drawing skills and training as a naturalist to produce textile designs. Hand-colored in pochoir over photogravure, the collection is one of the very best examples of Séguy’s decorative genius at the intersection of naturalist drawing and Art Deco design. Séguy’s designs were considered so beautiful that they were published as portfolios such as Papillons, its counterpart, Insectes, and Floréal. In the latter portfolio, Séguy’s enthusiasm for the naturalist aesthetic is further translated into textile design. Floréal (1920) contains twenty color plates of ornamental floral patterns in bright, vivid colors. It is clear that he drew his inspiration from nature, as the ornamental patterns Séguy produces are derived from flowers, foliage, and minerals.
A fine example of the complete Floréal and selected plates from Papillons are currently available.