Reference Points

December 13, 2009|By June Sawyers, Tribune Newspapers

'Paris Postcards: The Golden Age'
Counterpoint, $24.95

For many years they were taken for granted, but to author and collector Leonard Pitt, hand-painted French postcards from the late 19th and early 20th centuries are "little works of art." They also serve as historical documents. In this gorgeous collection, Pitt has chosen postcards that show a Paris that no longer exists. The postcard, he writes, "revolutionized communication and created the first form of social networking equivalent to today's e-mail." The images here are often famous (the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Moulin Rouge) and majestic (Paris' grand boulevards), but there are plenty of examples of ordinary Parisians going about their business. It's an utterly charming collection that captures a moment in time.

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