Paris: Editions d'Art A. Gamard, 1920s. Single portfolio volume, measuring 13 x 10 inches: sixteen loose color pochoir plates laid into wrappers, interspersed with captioned tissue guards. Original brown paper wrappers printed in gilt, gilt cord tie, original publisher’s promotional paper band. Two-page preface by Francis Carco, colophon at rear. Occasional touch of foxing.
Vivid portfolio of sex workers in Jazz Age Paris, number 110 of 500 copies, featuring sixteen pochoir portraits by painter May Wanda (1892-1964). The women depicted represent a range of trade, from a respectable drinker “au café” to a bather “à la piscine,” from a jaunty motorist on the rue Royale to twin flappers surveying the hall from their opera box. Also included are a butch-femme lesbian pair, a sinister “profiteuse” leading a schoolgirl by the hand, and a young woman holding a birch and a rope, introduced to her client as “un charmant bourreau” (the charming executioner). Wanda began her career as a stage comedienne, and her lively wit animates these portraits; she was a friend of Foujita (whose studio she shared), Colette, and Jean Cocteau. The writer Francis Carco contributes a preface linking Wanda and Toulouse-Lautrec as chroniclers of “le domaine de la galanterie.” OCLC lists only two holdings in the United States. A fine copy of a remarkable portfolio.