by André Buffet
Translation by Katherine Bourguignon
Photography and layout by Jean-Michel Peers
Postcards from the Terra Foundation for American Art
The oldest postcard we found is dated 1900.
For a few years, a space was left for correspondence just next to the image; the address was the
only element written on the back of the card. Postcards are an interesting means of communication
for the period: reliable, inexpensive and almost quick!
Monsieur Féron, horticulturalist in Giverny, used postcards of his establishment
to communicate with his clients concerning their orders.
Postcards also offer an artistic effect, whether in the poses which are sometimes too similar to
canvases by the masters, or in the poetically inspired decorations, taken from Art Nouveau,
imitations of natural forms, like these plant-like arabesques encircling the image.
At the beginning of the century, many amateurs practiced photography…
... as a family.
Their talent goes beyond the difficult shot due to the weak light-sensitive plates, and the large
lens of their cameras. They applied themselves to the development and fixing of their snapshots.
This card is a photograph dated July 30, 1909. One can read: “but I think that when I will tell you
the process to get to this result, right away you will have just as much talent as I do!”
Poetry amateurs translate their feelings in verses torn by suffering and sadness.
By making their cards more sophisticated, editors invited people to visit the village
and invited those who love postcards to start collecting…
…by providing a summary on one card of everything you can see in Giverny…
…or, with these detachable postcards sold in booklet form (Archives Départementales de l’Eure)…
…and, later, in a more teasing manner. In the suitcase, under the umbrella, these cards
constructed with accordian folds invited people to discover the village.
The “system” postcard, no doubt for financial reasons, did not have
the same long life as classic postcards.