French Patriotic Postcards

The golden era of postcards was dominated by Germany and Great Britain who ranked first and second respectively in both quantity of postcards produced and printing techniques used.  Many French postcards lacked the same rich colors and print quality and were often quite drab by comparison.  The French did, however, seize the lead in one area of production and that was their development of a hand tinting process for coloring monochrome photograph images.  The subject matter was mainly glamorous postcards of females in exotic dress, hairdos and make-up often glorifying or romanticizing the female form.  Postcards produced using this process were generally attractive and found acceptance throughout Europe.

1914 brought an end to concentration on women.  All of Europe was convulsed in war and hand tinted postcards were now being produced to reflect the staggering events of the day as France and Belgium found themselves in the epicenter of the battlefields on the western front.  Literally thousands of these hand tinted postcards were produced and proved popular with the public and soldiers alike.  Topics reflected ran the gamut from patriotic themes and promotion of the glory of France to the pathos of warfare, humor, holidays, soldiers separated from home and families, fraternity among soldiers and an exploitation of the common hatred of the Hun.

My original intent was to display examples in gallery form to be expanded in size as my collection grew.  I soon found that this type of WWI postcard was not all produced in hand tinted colors; many colorful examples exist using other more standard printing processes.  Thus, my pursuit of this genre of postcard led to a mixing of printing styles with even a handful in black and white.  All have been posted for your enjoyment.  The postings will be on-going as more postcards are acquired.  Be sure to check back regularly for viewing new additions.

 

Gallery I

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Gallery II

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