Item #18217 Maskee: A Shanghai Sketchbook [Pre WW II China]. Friedrich Schiff.
Maskee: A Shanghai Sketchbook [Pre WW II China]
Maskee: A Shanghai Sketchbook [Pre WW II China]
Maskee: A Shanghai Sketchbook [Pre WW II China]
Maskee: A Shanghai Sketchbook [Pre WW II China]
Maskee: A Shanghai Sketchbook [Pre WW II China]
Maskee: A Shanghai Sketchbook [Pre WW II China]
Maskee: A Shanghai Sketchbook [Pre WW II China]
Maskee: A Shanghai Sketchbook [Pre WW II China]
Maskee: A Shanghai Sketchbook [Pre WW II China]

Maskee: A Shanghai Sketchbook [Pre WW II China]

Shanghai: [Unknown - Self published], 1939. Hand-colored illustrations by F. Schiff.

Bound as a leporello [fan folded] between original decorated silk covers in a bamboo motif. 4to; 10.5 inches by 7.5 inches with 21 plates of hand-colored cartoons. 21 leaves. with. caricatural illustrations, all handcolored by the artist, printed in an unspecified limited edition, this is 570. The author hand-signed his name on the title-page as is common to this issue.


Very Good+ condition with a bit of handling wear to the silk and minor toning / offset from drawing onto the facing page. Handsome and collectible.


Very Good / No Dust Jacket As Issued. Item #18217

The Austrian artist Friedrich Schiff lived and worked in Shanghai during the 1930s and part of the 1940s. His colorful caricatures of the city's daily life in the International Settlement in the 1930s and 1940s. mostly dealing with the interaction between Chinese people and Westerners are iconic.
 
Shanghai boasted the most colorful nightlife in China. Nightclubs and bars boom, "with joints opening and closing faster than night can turn into day, Barflies now have a choice of everything from glamorous art deco lounges to the seediest watering hole" [Shanghai Highlights]

The details Schiff's life are limited, however, he was one of the great cartoonists in Shanghai between the World Wars. A native of Vienna, he moved to Shanghai in 1929, returning to Europe only after the defeat of Nazi Germany.  

During his 18 years in the East he became known for his China sketches beautifully capturing the lives of everyone from police to coolies to expats to sailors to sing-song girls; his unique signature style undoubtedly continues to influence many China/Asia sketch artists to this day. He recorded in cartoon form some of the most poignant and ridiculous elements of cross-cultural interaction, particularly in Shanghai's infamous dance halls.

The most famous dance hall at the time was the art deco Paramount, where colorful lights flashed to the rhythms of its Filipino jazz band (featured in one of Schiff's cartoons).  

The Paramount hired pretty taxi-dancers to work as escorts, making it the most popular and most expensive dance hall in Shanghai. Schiff captures that no-holds-barred ambiance in his simple sketches, which really do speak a thousand words.

Subjects: Caricatures and cartoons, China; Caricatures and cartoons, Shanghai; Social conditions, China; China, 1930s

Price: $2,400.00