The Cleveland Public Library has a number of beautiful books exhibiting the art of pochoir. Pochoir is a stenciling technique that dates back to cave paintings in prehistoric Europe and in images found in China along the Asian silk route. Pochoir became popular in Paris during the early part of the 20th century, and used in some limited-edition magazines and books associated with interior design and haute couture fashion. The vivid colors and elaborate designs reflect the “Belle Epoque,” a time when Paris was viewed as the center of the fashion world.
The library is lucky to own examples of these works, some of which are on display in Special Collections on the third floor of the Main Library until the end of December 2011. The exhibit is one of the featured events of the 2011 celebration of Octavofest, Celebrating the Book and Paper Arts.
On view is the work of Emile-Alain Seguy, entitled Insectes and Papillons; vingt planches en phototypie colories au patron donnant 81 papillons et 16 compositions decoratives. The plates were published in the mid-1920’s in Paris. Seguy describes the prints as "un monde somptueux de formes et de couleurs" -- a world of sumptuous forms and colors. He intended the prints to be a record of rare insects and butterflies but also for the colors and forms to be an inspiration for designers of the day.