The avant-garde Christmas card
Beautifully bizarre handmade works from the personal collection of a former MoMA director
These are not your average Christmas cards.
Untitled | 1941 | (Herbert Bayer/2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn)
There are no giddy snowmen, no flying red-nosed reindeer. These holiday greeting cards are one-of-a-kind works of art once sent to Monroe Wheeler, the director of exhibitions and publications at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) from 1939 to 1967. By the time of Wheeler's death in 1988, the lover of design and typography had accrued quite the collection, which has been recently edited and compiled into the book Season's Greetings: Holiday Cards by Celebrated Artists from the Monroe Wheeler Archive (Daylight Books, 2016) by documentary photographer Vincent Cianni.
The 50 featured cards are a rare look at some very personal creations by celebrated avant-garde artists, including famed Bauhaus artist Herbert Bayer, who took a surreal point of view, and Mexican muralist Roberto Montenegro, who integrated a leaf into an elegant rice paper note. The collection captures the intimate relationships Monroe developed with the artists he worked with during his time at MoMA. Get into the spirit of the season with this selection of unusual takes on the quotidian Christmas card.
Untitled | 1962 | (Roberto Montenegro/2016 Estate of Monroe Wheeler/Courtesy Vincent Cianni Newburgh, NY)
Crucifix | Date unknown | (Alfonso Ossorio/2016 Ossorio Foundation, Southampton, NY. Reproduced with the permission of the Ossorio Foundation, Sally Vanasse and Nicole A. Vanasse)
Bill Pahlmann wishes you a fine holiday | 1961 | (2016 William Palmann/Courtesy of Hagley Museum and Library)
Untitled (Christmas Tree) | Date unknown | (Herbert Bayer/2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn)
Untitled | 1959 | (Bernard Waldman/No Known Claimant)
Untitled (Merry Christmas) | 1947 | (Jacques Lipchitz/All Rights Reserved, Estate of Jacques Lipchitz. Hanno D. Mott, New York)
Untitled | Date unknown | (Miguel Covarrubias/2016 Estate of Monroe Wheeler / Courtesy Vincent Cianni, Newburgh, NY)
**Order the book here.**