Originally published in 1975, Dover’s color reprint sees Bradley’s beautiful designs collected into one book of approximately 150 pages. Many of the illustrations are given a full page treatment, allowing the designs to be appreciated in a larger size. As well, several pages are beautiful full color. A fairly detailed biography as well as introduction in the beginning (written in 1955) take up most of the print in the book – the designs have only plate names and dates.
Chances are, if you’ve never heard of Bradley you’ll likely recognize several of his works. His specialty was art nouveau/arts and crafts designs and savvy readers will recognize the heavy influence from William Morris. But other influences including Mucha, Steinlein, and the era’s great poster artists are also apparent. Fortunately for America, Bradley brought the poster movement to the US and created a unique style for America.
From intricate border work, curvilinear shapes, to his spectacular use of positive/negative illustrations, Bradley has a beautiful portfolio that has stood the test of time. With so many influences, his art tells the story of the fin de siecle America. His designs are deceptively simple but intricate in surprising ways that are wonderfully explored in this compilation.
In all, a clean layout and full page presentation, including color in several plates, make this an excellent resource on Bradley, turn of the century US illustration work, art nouveau and arts and crafts. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.