Inspired by… Vintage Exlibris

Today I’m featuring my latest graphic design obsession… vintage Exlibris designs.

An Exlibris (bookplate) is a mark of ownership which the owner of a book sticks into the inside of the cover. It is made by an artist who is commissioned by the owner to create according to his wishes and ideas a small graphic that bears the owner’s name and the word Exlibris. The word Ex libris is Latin and, together with the owner’s name, means “From among the books of N.N.” In order not to lessen the value of the book by writing one’s name directly into it, one marks one’s ownership by sticking the bookplate on the inside of the cover.

Lucky for me, The Frederikshavn Art Museum and Ex Libris Collection has created a digital Exlibris museum project. Started in 2010, the goal of the project is to preserve and share these beautiful and unique designs with a larger audience.

It’s amazing how much these small designs can convey about the former owner’s personality… which is probably one of the most intriguing and captivating things to be about these designs. Another fascinating thing to me is the span of time these bookplates cover- from 1700 up to current day. Below is a collection of some of my favorites- enjoy!

Artist: Maria Elisa Leboroni. Owner: Gennaro Sallusto. Year: 1935. Country: Italy.

 

Artist: Edward Grabowski. Owner: Kotarskiego Stefana. Year: 1963. Country: Poland.

 

Artist: Albert Jaern. Owner: Aslaug Haave Lamberg. Year: 1942. Country: Norway.

 

Artist: Albert Jaern. Owner: Bjørn Severin. Year: 1944. Country: Norway.

 

Artist: Albert Jaern. Owner: Edgar Noel. Year: Unknown. Country: Norway.

 

Artist: Albert Jaern. Owner: Roald Holmen. Year: 1943. Country: Norway.

 

Artist: Walter Bergmann. Owner: Walter Bergmann. Year: 1923. Country: Germany.

 

Artist: Hans Michael Bungter. Owner: Poul Rygaard Jensen. Year: 1967. Country: Germany.

 

Artist: Ernest Huber. Owner: Dr. Roger Bliss. Year: Unknown. Country: France.

 

Artist: Jüri Arrak . Owner: Eha Toomas Vetevool. Year: 1977. Country: Estonia.