By Mary Savig
Published September 2012 by Smithsonian Books
Handmade Holiday Cards shows how artists imagined the holidays through original watercolors, etchings, silk-screen prints, and drawings. Rarely seen beyond the eyes of their recipients, these cards confirm the irrepressible artistry of their senders. Handmade Holiday Cards offers personal insight into the style and sentiment of artists, including how they summed up the year's events in their own lives and the world in which they lived.
The introduction by archives specialist Mary Savig explores the intersections between commercial holiday cards and the art world—how holiday cards were first marketed as "affordable art" and how selling their art to card companies often provided income for artists in lean times. She then opens up the more intimate dimensions of an artist's social network, illuminating their relationships with dealers, curators, teachers, and close friends. Captions introduce each artist, compare or contrast the holiday card to his/her body of work, and discuss the relationship to the recipient when relevant.
Handmade Holiday Cards illustrates and contextualizes a broad range of one-of-a-kind artworks or limited edition print series by well-known artists such as Josef Albers, Milton Avery, Alexander Calder, Robert Indiana, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Robert Motherwell, Nickolas Muray, and Ad Reinhardt. It will appeal to anyone interested in greeting cards, ephemeral art, illustrated correspondence, and the history of American art.