Postcard Collection’s History:
Georges Wague himself credited the notion and dawning of this splendid collection to Adolphe Willette. There appears to be destiny at work here by virtue of Willette being a talented artist and mime in his own right! However, Willette’s gratuity was not the inaugural postcard sent-but the first pierrot. The initial few cards had themes unrelated to Pierrot, ranging from fishermen to lesbian love. Although Wague claimed to have amassed and indexed nearly 200 postcards it is evident through cross referencing the original hand written records by Wague and these same records typed by David Hunt, the art broker from whom the present owner bought the collection reveal that there were 167 cards with only one missing, card # 127 by Belisse. The first card was sent on December 31st, 1901 and the final one on January 12th, 1952.
A portion of the translated article, "Memories of a Collector," from Le Figaro, January 14th, 1936 by Georges Wague, Professor at the Academy follows:
As for my precious little collection of illustrated postcards with original drawings (a collection small in dimension, but important because of both the number and the fame of the creators), I am indebted for the idea to Adolphe Willette, another Pierrot in his life and his art.
Willette had sent me a postcard, a simple card issued by the P.T.T. (French Post Office) which he had illustrated himself with a wonderful Pierrot. Later I requested all my artist friends to do the same, imposing only one absolute condition: the subject must always feature a Pierrot. All of them seemed very enthusiastic about the idea and that is how I was able to collect almost 200 cards, which form an anthology of varied conceptions of the same character as seen by people with different temperaments, tendencies and points of views.
This collection, which consists of these marvelous works, is extremely diverse, since together are names ranging from Willette to Cheret, from Poulbot to Lucien Jonas, from Bernard Naudin to Leandre, from Emile Aubry, a young member of the Institite, to Jacques Nam, from the prize artists of Rome such as Andre Vermare and Benneteau to Kisling, Grun, Robiquet, Marin, Joe Hamman, Georges Redon, Carlos Reymond, Georges Villa, Guy Dignimont, Andre Helle, Edmond Bernard, Zig Brunner, Arnoux, Maxime Deththomas, Calegle, Charles Gir, Andre Warnod, Louis Huvey, Bib, Galland and many others, French and foreign, classical artists, official artists, wise men and wild men, bold artists and poetic ones. May they all be thanked for having permitted me, inspired by them, to gather together this unique original collection which summarizes both an era and a universal character.
In spite of the fact that Wague credits Cheret as one of the artists in the collection of hand painted postcards I regret reporting that there are no cards by him. This could be due to the fact that Wague owned other Pierrot works of art by Cheret in his collection and was simply an oversight. We do know that Cheret painted several large paintings of Wague as Pierrot.