Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Comptoir Général de la Bimbeloterie, 1949-1950

The Comptoir general de la bimbeloterie ("supplier of trinkets"), managed by the mysterious J. du Serre, sold toys and goods since the early 1900s, and would continue until around 1975. Various catalogues featured color illustrations and included prices and descriptions directly on the page, as seen in examples from the 1940s and 1950s, or highlight certain items on price sheets bound-in, as seen in this example. This catalogue represents the company at what was a considerably successful point, judging by the lush color photographs on the wrapper showcasing their sales floors and massive inventory. The supplemental catalogues are simple, pulpy black-and-white, text only, with a map of the neighborhood surrounding the "C.G.B." on the rear wrapper. In light of recent toy distributors closing many locations, this catalogue breathes nostalgia and familiarity, from a period of France's new establishment after WWII. The only institutional holdings (2) are at France's Bibliotheque Nationale, and an exhibition catalogue from the "Exposition franco-britannique de Londres, 1908... Classe 100 [bimbeloterie]," crediting du Serre, is held at the Bibliotheque and at California State University, Fresno.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Vote and the choice is yours, ca. 1980s


I bought this card (blank on the back) sometime in the 1980s, most likely at the St. Marks Bookstore. It's a deeply cynical piece of political art, expressing a viewpoint I thought preposterous back then. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Betsey Johnson paper dolls and fashion illustrations

Betsey Johnson's wonderful illustrations for the  Aug. 4, 1974 issue of the Los Angeles Times Home section. Her Alley Cat paper dolls were usually black and white in newspapers and magazines. This was a special assignment, however. 

Dot-to-Dot! Loved doing those as a kid. 

Her fabulous fashion illustrations.

She was a Mademoiselle guest editor! How I miss that magazine. 

Surely a Betsey self-portrait! Wonderful.