Some time ago I was antiquing with my mom in New England when I spied a large book that made my heart beat a little faster. It was flipped open to a random page of what looked like Charles Dana Gibson artwork, and it looked old.
Well, it is old! And it's signed by the man himself.
There's something special about owning something with the signature of the artist who invented the "Gibson Girl."
Charles Dana Gibson was an American graphic artist. His pen and ink work was published in magazines, books, and other media, and covered genres from humor to social commentary eventually became the publisher and owner of Life magazine. His wife and her sisters (one of whom was the legendary Lady Astor) inspired his "Gibson girls," with their distinctive turn of the century hairstyles, fashionable dress, sporting and active lifestyles, and elegant curves. You can read more on Wikipedia.
This volume is #144 of 250 signed copies of The Education of Mr. Pipp. It was published in 1899. It appears to have originally been a series of magazine cartoons. 1899 is also the year that the Ironwork gown by Worth is dated to, coincidentally.
The artwork tells the story of Mr. Pipp, an aging British father, as he is whisked about on various illuminating adventures with his wife and two young adult daugthers. Hijinks and comedic social scenarios ensue. They tour Europe, visit the dressmakers, attend balls, Carnevale, the races at Longchamps, and so on.
These prints show Gibson's skill at portraying fashion of the time, his deft use of line, and the humor in much of his work. This book is ultimately meant to be humorous and amusing.
Anyway, here are some highlights!