Séguy's notes: 1. Goeana festiva. Indes; 2. Zammara tympanum. Amérique du Sud; 3. Goeana ochracea. Indes; 4. Phenax variegata. Brésil; 5. Hemisciera maculipennis. Amazone.
Seguy published many design folios utilizing the pochoir technique, a printing process that employs a series of stencils to lay dense and vivid color.
He produced 11 albums of illustrations and designs from the turn of the century to the 1930s.
Eugène Séguy was a French entomologist who published many portfolios of illustrations and designs from the turn of the century to the 1930s who worked in both the Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles. Séguy wanted to use his artistic skill to glorify the sublime beauty of nature, creating what he called a ‘world of sumptuous forms and colours.’ He then transformed these beautiful illustrations into textile designs.
Of the art techniques that gained popularity in the backlash against mechanical processes in the late 19th century, the most eye-pleasing may be pochoir printing. While chromolithography brought art prints to the masses, they were criticized as lacking the spirit of fine, hand-finished work. Pochoir (literally: “stencil” in French) offered a method of coloring prints by hand, though the process was, in fact, semi-automated....
The steps of making a pochoir illustration are rather basic, but they required a steady, attentive hand. A key print for an illustration was done first—usually a lithographic print in black. Colors to be added were then recorded on a master print, painted by hand, often by the credited artist. The next step was the creation of stencils for each separate color. These can be cut from heavy paper, but most often, a thin sheet of copper was used, for strength and durability. The application of color was done is a workshop, usually by young women, who one-by-one, used the stencils to paint on a single hue using gouache—watercolor paint thickened and made opaque with an additive. The laying down of color requires attention to the master illustration, as the goal is to make each copy identical.
The most striking pochoir portfolios are arguably those of E. A. Séguy: Papillons (Paris: Tolmer, 1925) and Insectes (Paris: Editions Duchartre et Van Buggenhoudt, 1929). These highly collectible publications each contain twenty plates showing precisely drawn and colored examples of butterflies and insects from around the world. Sixteen plates of each set are composed of technically exacting renderings of the bugs. The remaining four plates for each publication use insect and butterfly shapes and colors to suggest patterns for textiles and wallpapers. The results are stunning.