Old streets in the heart of Paris, via postcard: Port de la Cour du Dragon. Paris. IML 958790
  • Old streets in the heart of Paris, via postcard: Port de la Cour du Dragon. Paris. IML 958790
  • Old streets in the heart of Paris, via postcard: Rue Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre. Paris. IML 958791
  • Grand boulevards in Paris. Places of commerce and promenade, via postcard: La Rue de Rivoli. Paris. IML 958792
  • Grand boulevards in Paris. Places of commerce and promenade, via postcard: Le Boulevard Montmartre. Paris. IML 958793
  • Unusual attractions included "ghost show" cabarets and underground tours, via postcard: Boulevard de Clichy. L'Enfer. Paris. IML 958796
  • Unusual attractions included "ghost show" cabarets and underground tours, via postcard: Entrée du Moulin de la Galette. Paris. IML 958795
  • Unusual attractions included "ghost show" cabarets and underground tours, via postcard: Paris-Souterrain. Les Catacombes, l'Ossuaire, Ossments provenant du Cimetière de l'Eglise Saint-Laurent. IML 958797
  • Unusual attractions included "ghost show" cabarets and underground tours, via postcard: Paris Souterrain. Les Egouts. Service de l'Assainmissement. Carrefour des Collecteurs des Avenues Bosquet, La Bourdonnais et La Motte-Piquet. IML 958794
  • Old Montmartre, home to many artists, via postcard: Vieux Montmartre. La Rue Saint-Vincent. Paris. IML 958799
  • Old Montmartre, home to many artists, via postcard: Vieux Montmartre. Maison de Henri IV. Paris. IML 958798
  • Giverny, home to Monet and bucolic landscape to many painters, via postcard: Vue d'ensemble prise du Petit-Val. Giverny. IML 958800
  • Giverny, home to Monet and bucolic landscape to many painters, via postcard: Paysage d'automne. Giverny. IML 958801
  • Giverny, home to Monet and bucolic landscape to many painters, via postcard: Propriété du Peintre Claude Monnet. Giverny. IML 958802
  • Giverny, home to Monet and bucolic landscape to many painters, via postcard: L'Eglise et la Route. Giverny. IML 958803
  • Van Gogh and Cezanne traveled to Brittany (Bretagne) for inspiration. Via postcard: La Place du Forum. Arles. IML 958805
  • Van Gogh and Cezanne traveled to Brittany (Bretagne) for inspiration. Via postcard: En Bretagne. Retour de foire dans le pays du Léon. IML 958806
  • Van Gogh and Cezanne traveled to Brittany (Bretagne) for inspiration. Via postcard: Mœurs et Types Bretons. Après le Marché. IML 958804
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Wish you were here...

The advent of photolithography popularized the buying, selling, and sending of postcards in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. David Prochaska writes that they were sold at kiosks, from public parks and exhibitions to restaurants and even on passenger trains. He notes that there were cases of individuals sending up to 50 postcards a day!1 Postcard photographers and publishers intended to "cover the world" with image collections from the mundane to the exotic, constituting a voyage of discovery of places and peoples. Collected as individual scenes, or in larger series of sets, postcards became the medium for everyman to share experiences of travel, architectural wonder, and personal validation ("I've been there!").

By the late 1890's and into the twentieth century, photographic views dominated the picture postcard, or view-card, industry. Professional photographers using field cameras were employed to produce crisp views of subjects and landscapes. Images crowded with a multitude of details and multi-toned delineations were most valued by the industry companies.2 The postcard business emerged as an international giant.

Here are a few of the many thousands of postcards from the collection of the Ingalls Library. Chosen images of France are intended to accompany our Impressionist and Modern Masters exhibition. Paris, Giverny, Normandy, and Brittany represent a few of the many places the artists lived and painted. From the Moulin de la Galette in Paris, to Monet's haystacks near Giverny, these views evoke a world long past and forever changed by war and progress.

1. Prochaska, David, "Thinking Postcards," Visual Resources 17, no. 4 (2001): 384.

2. Christraud M. Geary and Virginia-Lee Webb, Delivering Views, Distant Cultures in Early Postcards (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998), 16