Vintage Educational Charts from the 19th and 20th Centuries
Text by Katrien Van der Schueren
11 x 13 in; 156 pp; Hardcover
Release date: October 12, 2011
Depending on what you felt about science class in grade school, it is a safe bet that the most interesting part of having to read the textbook or pay attention to the lectures was not actually reading or listening, but looking at an illustrated poster of the subject being studied – insect, flower, part of the human anatomy. However, while marveling over the image, it is another safe bet that the craft within each created image was taken for granted in the context of an educational setting, focusing not on the artistry, but rather what it was teaching.
Stepping out of the classroom and concentrating on the posters themselves as objects of study and dissection, The Art of Instruction: Vintage Education Charts from the 19th and 20th Centuries (Chronicle Books) contains over one hundred of these vintage educational charts, which have been an integral part of classroom instruction through Europe in the mid-nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As stand-alone pieces, the impressive detail and artistry within each image is intriguing – an illustration of a mushroom becomes a study in lines and shape and the dissected image of a flower becomes a study in composition.
Katrien Van der Schueren, a gallery-cum-purveyor of vintage antiques and contemporary art called voila! in Los Angeles, has collected vintage educational posters for over a decade. She provides an introduction to the book, speaking to the history of these charts and their production.
Image: Art and Conception by Jung-Koch-Quentell © Wilhelm Hagemann Verlagm Germany
Art of Instruction, Chronicle Books (2011).