Remembrance of Things Past – Repeatedly


Why is it my heart soars over those things of the past? The Budhhists advocate living in the “now,” but I always find myself shadowing those paths leading back to long ago. Someone once mused that “Nostalgia is a seductive liar.” Perhaps that is so. Maybe it’s the mist of memory that captivates, creating a yearning that can never be filled.

When I think of the blogs and books I read that consume my days and nights many of them celebrate other times, places, and people. And these are not wholly confined to fictionalized accounts. I remember taking a class once from a remarkable woman who insisted that in order to understand a life well lived, one had to absorb biographies and autobiographies, for nothing was more instructive in navigating the hazards of existence. Thus, she would speak with great affection for Hemingway, Lincoln, Thoreau and Proust, among others, as though they were the most intimate of friends.

I share my instructor’s love and fascination for those only known through the page or the lens of history and wanted to pass on a name who you may not know, but will surely recognize, for the legacy left behind. It is that of the hugely talented Spanish artist-illustrator Eduardo Garcia Benito.

Benito belonged to Vogue’s exclusive group of illustrators known as the “Beaux Brummels of the Brush.” (An upcoming post will feature more about him and his work). Conde Nast had been keenly aware of this talented group, Benito in particular, since the mid-1910s, but it wasn’t until the 1920’s that he hit his artistic stride becoming one of Vogue and Vanity Fair’s most important artists for over two decades.

This newly released book Paris Vogue Covers: 1920-2009 documents in one volume some ninety years’ worth of iconic Paris Vogue covers, both illustrated and photographic. It is a thing of beauty that includes much of Benito’s work, along with some of the greatest artists and photographers of the era: Lepape, Gruau, Man Ray, Steichen, Newton, Bourdin, and Testino.


“Vogue is eccentric,
and nonconformist.

Vogue is provocative
and avant-garde:
it breaks with convention.”

A magazine that has documented trends for nearly a century provides an archive full of more than pretty pictures: these images record the history of style and chic, of trends in fashion and design, as well as the month-to-month whims of popular culture.


I feel certain that Paris Vogue Covers: 1920-2009 is as anxious to appear on my bookshelf as I am to make its acquaintance. So, once again I will fill an inordinate amount of hours pursuing my guilty pleasure of reading all that is past. Perhaps the Buddhists might find comfort in the nirvana I am sure to experience, not to mention the karmic effects of witnessing all this unsurpassed beauty.



Top: Edurado Garcia Benito: Vogue Paris: Feb 1929
Bottom: Book Cover




~ by eaesthete on 04/07/10.

13 Responses to “Remembrance of Things Past – Repeatedly”

  1. Oh I love your blog! Would you like to exchange links with me?

  2. How could one live in the present and not be aware of the past? Surely the two are indivisible.

  3. The first cover is absolutely perfect & sublime. If you are interested in the type work, you should have a look at Anisette by Jean-François Porchez from Typofonderie. It is an inventive re)creation of Maximilien Vox’s Banjo used or copied on that cover!

  4. Perhaps your Now *is* in the Past? How else are some people more attached to times long gone, their hearts quickened at the scent of perfumes long faded, the sound of trees murmuring in the wind a hundred years ago across what is now a barren parking lot…

  5. I love the past too and often have a similar reflection about the now. I am raising a 14 year old boy, and I try to keep up with him in this ever quickening world. It is further complicated by living in foreign culture, with my head buried in the past.

    All the best,


  6. I forgot to mention. I own a copy of that issue, if you would like to see what is inside it, let me know. I collect these. I love Illustrations. Opps I see a typo in my first comment I meant to say similar

  7. Kellina,

    Thank you and of course.


    So often people seem caught up in the immediacy of now — it is urgent,
    deafening, excitable, on occasion even electrifying. The past is always softer, permitting you reflection and interpretation.


    I’ve always a predilection for fonts. Thank you for the suggestion.


    How lovely your words and how wise your thought that my “now” is the past.


    I always think of your life in Paris with considerable longing and envy. I was not surprised that these covers would form a collection; they did, after all, originate in Paris and now you are there to see and live it first hand.

    How lucky for your son to have someone who is planted in both the new and the old.

  8. looks delicious…! I share your love of the past & Vintage…

  9. I was always fascinated by old movies from the thirties and F. Scott Fitzgerald stories and the ex pats in Paris, etc. I still am which is probably why I enjoy your blog so very much.

  10. Plus ça change… who says time is linear?

    It’s the “modern” aesthetic of the time to which I am drawn. Think I’ll have to order a copy of the book to remind me why. In the meantime, I’ll read The Errant Aesthete. “More beauty, less gritty reality.”

  11. I have a previously unknown Benito , found behind another painting, that I recently showed to Conde Naste Archives, who verified it. E-mail me and I will send you a photo. It is absolutely beautiful and appears to be an attempt of ink on gold foil at the time of “Advertisement for Fourres Max”, one of his most famous. I truly admire his work and only wish to show this to people, not to sell it.

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