Exhibitions Research

Curious Find – Le Tumulte Noir

This new item was brought to our attention last month after a reader had requested to see it. It caused great excitement not only for the lovely images, but also the presentation box and gloves that came with it.

The Tumulte Noir [R198065] is a series of posters by the French artist Paul Colin (1892–1985). The images depict and celebrate the jazz era in Paris, celebrating the craze for African American music and dance in the 1920s, most famously epitomised by Josephine Baker. Colin was commissioned to create a poster for La Revue Negre in October 1925 and this, with his other images, provided the basis for Le Tumulte Noir. The success of the posters launched his career as a poster and theatrical designer, becoming one of France’s preeminent graphic artists.










The most famous image is probably the one of Josephine Baker and her banana skirt, which seems to capture the reckless energy of the jazz age. She performed the Danse Sauvage wearing this skirt in 1926. Other prints featured in this portfolio are of various performers from the Revue.

Colin and Baker’s friendship resulted in many commissions for posters, program covers and other designs. In return Colin introduced Baker to the artistic elite in Paris, where Baker beguiled writers and artists, including Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso. Le Tumulte Noir portrays the essence of uninhibited expression that Baker represented in her dance and Colin captures this spirit of the Charleston, the jazz age and the impact it had on Paris and popular culture of the 1920s.
Colin created the images for this portfolio by lithograph and they were then coloured by hand using a process known as pochoir, a stencil technique. This technique involves a series of hand-cut stencil plates for each colour application and short stubby brushes known as pompoms.

We thought the image of the lady dancing in the rain was most apt for Manchester!

1 comment on “Curious Find – Le Tumulte Noir

  1. rosegoodier

    Fabulous! I wish I could get away with wearing a banana skirt like that!

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