The Tumulte Noir [R198065] is a series of posters by the French artist Paul Colin (1892 – 1985).
The prints depict the jazz era in Paris, celebrating the craze for African American music and dance in the 1920s, most famously epitomised by Josephine Baker. Colin was commissioned to create a poster for La Revue Nègre in October 1925 and this, with his other images, provided the basis for Le Tumulte Noir. The success of the posters launched his career as a poster and theatrical designer, becoming one of France’s preeminent graphic artists.
The most famous print is probably the one of Josephine Baker and her banana skirt, which seems to capture the reckless energy of the jazz age. She performed the Danse Sauvage wearing this skirt in 1926. Other prints featured in this portfolio are of various performers from the Revue.
Colin created the images for this portfolio by lithograph and they were then coloured by hand using a process known as pochoir, a stencil technique. This technique involves a series of hand-cut stencil plates for each colour application and short stubby brushes known as pompoms.
The John Rylands Library holds a collection of reproductions of the original prints, with an extensive introduction by historian of colonisation Pascal Blanchard, specialist of ‘Zoos humains’.
Please do feel free to book an appointment to view; all readers have access to view these prints through the Special Collections Reading Room.