Para Todos And The Art Nouveau Of J. Carlos


The incredible and stylish 1920s art nouveau magazine covers of Brazil’s José Carlos de Brito e Cunha.

Rio De Janeiro is not known as a centre of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements, but for several years, one man blazed a trail through the Brazilian art scene via the covers of Para Todos magazine. José Carlos de Brito e Cunha – who worked under the name J. Carlos – became the magazine’s art director in 1922, but it wasn’t until 1928 that he made his mark, changing the covers from the film star portraits and photographs that had been the style until that point. Carlos began to draw his own cover illustrations and created a remarkable collection of exotic, stylish images that channelled the work of Aubrey Beardsley without remotely copying them – the J. Carlos work is very much his own, but also immediately recognisable of its time.

The covers for Para Todos over the next four years were proto-psychedelic jazz-age works, vivid and fashionable. Being of their time, they are sometimes not exactly PC – racial caricatures pop up on occasions. But the covers are more awash with sexy flappers and stylish, scantily-clad fashionistas, and the remarkable thing about these covers is just how modern, yet how out of time they feel – given that even the current glossy fashion magazines run as vanity projects for trust-fund millennials still have interchangeable photographic covers by and large, these images feel a world away from anything that you’d see on the shelves now – yet the images feel fresh and current.

Here’s a small selection of his work for the magazine.

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