Artists-signed postcards have been around for so long, especially when technology was never an idea. So today, we are going to be looking at what this form of the postcard is, how it started, and some of its prominent designers. And without any further ado, let’s get started!
WHAT ARE ARTIST SIGNED POSTCARDS AND HOW ARE THEY MADE?
Basically, Artist-signed postcards are simply reproductions of original works of art. To date, it is the most collectible (sort after) type of postcards in the world of art. However, just because they are called artist signed postcards does not mean that all of them were autographed by the artists themselves, no. Now, this is what used to happen. Back then, oftentimes, the original drawing or painting were signed with the real artist ‘s full name, monogram or initials, and when the artwork is being reproduced, they will just replicate the signature. Something like a photocopy of the original signature.
THE ARTIST SIGNED POSTCARD ERA
The artist signed the postcard’s dominant era was specifically between 1898 to 1918 when the world was not yet introduced to the wonders of technology where they could have had cell phones, radios, computers or TV. Thus, these postcards were an economical and easy means to keep in touch with one another. And that’s why most of the artist signed postcards were made to be pictured, printed, and mailed to acquaintances. Other sources of artist-signed postcards were newspapers and magazines, comic strips, illustrations, posters, kid’s books, and so on.
In regards to the signatures on these artworks, the artist was often left with two choices. Either to keep the signature after reproducing the work into postcards for commercial purposes, or blur/crop out the signature if the artist was a passionate type who wasn’t after commercializing the reproduced postcards. Interestingly, the unsigned postcards where the artists often decided to blur or crop out the original signature, if attractive, where often priced at a higher value than the just duplicated ones.
THE ROLE AND GROWTH OF WOMEN
During this era when artist signed postcards were trending, surprisingly, women were of high value in the art industry, which made most of them seriously consider the postcard reproduction professional as a career path. An example of such a women who stood up to the task was Rose O’Neill, maker of the Kewpie, who had the foresight of copyrighting her pictures. Turns out, she succeeded and was able to accumulate a great deal of fortune in her lifetime. Other than her, famous and highly talented artists like Ellen Clapsaddle, Grace Gebbie Drayton, and Frances Brundage took up the job of always drawing cute full(chubby-cheeked) kids for postcards, newspapers, magazines, kid’s books, advertisements agencies, and paper dolls.
INSTANCES OF ARTIST SIGNED POSTCARDS
Below are some of the instances were artists reproduced artworks into signed postcards.
In 1910, Frances Brundage stopped working for Tuck, and as a result, took her illustrations to the Samuel Gabriel Company of New York. When she got to the company, Brundage altered Tuck’s original style, leaving her fellow Victorian girls out of business, just to please the new publisher who needed a more naturalistic appearance of kids running, playing, and horsing around. There and then, Brundage signed the postcard, which was originally Tuck’s with her full name, and thus becoming popular for it. Today, these Gabriel postcards are quite easy to find.
When Grace Gebbie Drayton-Wiederseim was a little girl, she drew big-eyed round-faced self-portraits and then based her Campbell’s Kids advertising characters on it. And in 1904, she got a contract for a well-loved soup company, where she worked for 20 years, drawing all kinds of advertisements, producing book and magazine illustrations, and Dolly Dingle holiday cards/ paper dolls, while still maintaining the exact same style of adorable children. But during her first marriage (1900-1911), she had to sign her cards with the inscription G.G. Wiederseim, because that’s what the publishers wanted. All the publishers who published her postcards between 1907-1911 included, Reinthal & Newman, Campbell Art Co., Tuck, A.M. Davis, and Alfred Schweiser. Nevertheless, Drayton quickly remarried in 1911, and her postcards were republished, this time, only by Reinthal & Newman between 1911 and 1916 under her real name, G.G. Drayton. And as I stated earlier, the card became highly prized by collectors because the postcard contained the signature of an artist who was not only great at drawing, but alive at that moment.
Rose O’Neill started out her career by vending illustrations to magazines such as “Truth,” “Collier’s,” “Harper’s Monthly,” and “Bazaar.” In 1896, she got married to one Gray Latham, and as a result, had to work for “Puck,” where she had the opportunity to produce over 700-plus drawings, signed “O’Neill Latham, instead of Rose. Toward the end of their five-year marriage, she reproduced similar postcards this time, dropping the “Latham” and replacing it with the place “Rose”. Currently, these postcards are now with the signature Rose O’Neill.
Other artist signed postcard makers, well known for their ability to convert old artworks into artist signed postcards included;
Jessie Willcox Smith
Bessie Pease Gutmann
Charles R. Twelvetrees
Bernhardt Wall, Elisabeth Bem
In a nutshell, artist signed postcards where very popular and lucrative between 1898 to 1914 to be precise. After World War 1 broke out in 1914, postcards generally, not only artist-signed ones were in the fall because, they were considered expensive, plus, technology had found its way by then through the invention of telephones and so on, thus making postcards more or less redundant. However, the important point is that during this era, when the artist-signed postcards where invoke, women were more dominant than their male counterparts. From the likes of Frances Brundage, Grace Drayton, Rose O’Neill and so on, the commercialization of artist-signed postcards really favored the female artists. So, if you’d love to see how these postcards looked like, you can check them out on Darlenesoldpostcards and let us know what you think of this high sort for work of art.
Vintage Postcard Value Calculator - How Much is Postcard Worth
|Type of Postcard||Average $||$ Hi - Lo||Number of Postcards||Ebay Link to Postcards|
Over 4 Million Postcards
|3 - D Postcards||$ 9.00||$185 / .50||2988||Postcards|
|Applique Postcards||$14.00||$ 29 / 2.73||212||Postcards|
|Art Deco Postcards||$ 25.00||$ 117 / 14.95||6,972||Postcards|
|Art Nouveau Postcards||$ 45.00||$ 199 / 14.95||5,754||Postcards|
|Artist Signed Postcards||$ 85||$ 622 / 50.00||66,038||Postcards|
|Bas Relief Postcards||$ 9||$ 45 / .99||318||Postcards|
|Big Letter Postcards||$ 4.00||$ 12 / 3.00||1449||Postcards|
|Composites Postcards||$ 3.00||$ 17.99 / 1.46||219||Postcards|
|Court Cards Postcards||$ 3.00||$ 79 / 2.00||1,384||Postcards|
|Divided Back Postcards||$ 15.00||$ 47 / 7.95||14,773||Postcards|
|Django Fontina Postcards||0||0||0||Postcards|
|Embossed Postcards||$ 130.00||$ 1600/ *0.00||75,239||Postcards|
|Hand Tinted Postcards||$ 30||$ 371 / 10.48||4,080||Postcards|
|Hand Painted Postcards||$ 18.75||$ 750 / 4.58||1,791||Postcards|
|Hold to Light Postcards||$ 29.95||$ 1,102.78 / 15.00||1,337||Postcards|
|Kaleidoscope Postcards||$ 33.99||$ 59.00 / 1.75||33||Postcards|
|Large Letter Postcards||$ 13.50||$ 102.48 / 8.99||17,746||Postcards|
|Maximum Cards Postcards||$ 13.77||$ 33.88 / 2.00||344||Postcards|
|Midget Cards Postcards||$ 9.99||$ 49.99 / 3.83||485||Postcards|
|Novelty Postcards||$ 19.99||$ 213.48 / 1.33||4,409||Postcards|
|Oilette Postcards||$ 10.00||$ 49.95 / 6.99||3,115||Postcards|
|Postcardese Postcards||$ 140.00||$ 8,000 / 95.00||3,946,624||Postcards|
|QSL Cards Postcards||$ 7.99||$ 51.17 / 6.02||2,417||Postcards|
|RPPC / Real Photo Postcards||49.89||$ 2,025 / 4.99||282,245||Postcards|
|Topographical Postcards||$ 2.99||$ 13.50 / 1.27||131||Postcards|
|Undivided back Postcards||$ 2.19||$ 254.01 / .73||9,077||Postcards|
|Vignette Postcards||$ 11.15||$ 231.59 / 1.99||1,261||Postcards|
|Write - away Postcards||$ 10.51||$ 37.49 / 1.99||175||Postcards|