The Postcard Age: Selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection

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9780878467815: The Postcard Age: Selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection

In the decades around 1900, postcards were Twitter, email, Flickr and Facebook, all wrapped into one. A postcard craze swept the world, and billions of cards were bought, mailed and pasted into albums. Many famous artists turned to the new medium, but one of the great pleasures and enigmas of postcards is how some of the most beautiful and interesting examples were made by artists whose names we barely know. Drawing on the riches of the Leonard A. Lauder Postcard Collection (probably the finest and most comprehensive collection of its type), this gorgeous book traces the historical and cultural themes--enthralling, exciting, and sometimes disturbing--of the modern age. The first general publication on the postcard as an artistic medium since the mid-1970s, The Postcard Age is organized thematically, with chapters devoted to urban life, the changing role of women, sports, celebrity, new technologies, the stylish collectors’ cards of Art Nouveau and World War I. The result is at once a vivid picture of the concerns and pastimes of the turn of the century and a sampler from the Lauder’s vast archives.

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Leonard A. Lauder, the billionaire son of Estée, has spent a lifetime scouring kiosks by the Seine and souvenir shops off Portobello Road for rare vintage postcards. He began his quest as a boy, in the 1930s. buying postcards of famous New York City buildings at Woolworth's with his allowance of 5 cents. Lauder is now 79, and his peerless collection is finally getting its day in the sun with "The Postcard Age" ($45), a book and corresponding show (through April 14) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. (T: The New York Times Style Magazine)

"The Postcard Age," opening Wednesday at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, features 700 examples from the era, drawn from the collection of Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus of Estée Lauder Cos. (His collection numbers more than 160,000 in all.) The cards offer a window into the past, writes Mr. Lauder in the book that accompanies the show. But even beyond that, "postcards help remind us that history is lived and experienced by individuals." (The Wall Street Journal)

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