Friday, May 23, 2014

French association astonished by 'Origin of the World' stamp buzz

 No such things as bad publicity or only the Finnish can do it.

Late January 2014, a philatelic association of Besançon succeeded to reach French regional, then French national and finally some French speaking countries media with an unissued personalised stamp.

The Philatelic and Cartophile Society of Besançon (SPCB) wanted to mark the opening of a summer exhibition at the Courbet Museum in Ornans by ordering to La Poste a personalised stamp reproducing The Origin of the World by Gustave Courbet. The provocative 1866 painting will be lent to Ornans by the Musée d'Orsay.

The Montimbramoi service refused (with little surprise I thought then) to print something that may shock children. During a meeting in the winter, the Society's members discussed the matter and a solution.

And here the craziness began...

You understand now that the SPCB is active to promote philately and its actions: a local newspaper reported late January this meeting... and then, the buzz began up to conservative newspaper Le Figaro on January 31th. February 10th, on the SPCB website, the webmaster tried to explain the role in the media of what was a small affair after all. This article is largely published in the June issue of Timbres magazine.

This article in Timbres and a May 21st article on the blog present the final personalised stamp: a picture of a bronze statue by Pierre Duc, Gustave Courbet painting 'The Origin of the World' - with the problem slighty reduced in size - with a background made of another Courbet's artwork.

Buzzed but provocative, the Society is surfing on its celebrity: proposing two souvenir postcards with the two proposal artworks, an optional cinderella cancellation of 'The Origin', La Poste will only propose an ordered Courbet effigy datestamp. Finally, the SPCB president hopes that some of the journalists he was forced to meet may come back for other philatelic happenings in Franche-Comté.

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