V1578. DISQUES “APGA”, incl. Lucien Muratore, Léon Melchissédec, Xavier Privas, Charles Cros, Alexis Ghasne, Jean Noté, Juste Nivette, Marguerite Revel, Charlotte Agussol, Henri Weber, Alice Verlet, Mary Boyer, Théodore Botrel, etc. (France) 2-Malibran 721. [Sheer enchantment in these marvelous displays of the now extinct French style.] Among Malibran's greatest and most important issues! Final Copy! - 7600003777218
"In the late 1890s the movement called 'Art Nouveau' burst onto the art scene, which brought 'commercial' graphic art into the category of being 'fine' art for the masses; often, as the sexual conventions of the Victorian era were thrust aside, its imagery depicted sinuous flowers twining around the semi-naked female form.
The erotically loaded scene [on APGA labels] follows in the same vein. It shows the Palais Garnier, home of the National Opéra of Paris in the background (right), in front of which a comely young maiden reclines, dressed in a flowing gown which hardly disguises her spreading thighs. Her long curling hair, decorated with a large flower, flows provocatively down to the nipples of her fully exposed breasts. She seems about to kiss the stone statue of a winged cherub against which she is pressing (or more likely, this is Cupid in the flesh, providing yet another example of the contemporary fascination with pagan mythology), while her left hand caresses the phallic-like 'morning-glory' horn of the phonograph at her other side.
In the foreground sits a wooden box with an open lid, suggestive of the delights of phonograph records yet to be played. The designer seems to have indeed fully grasped the modern advertising dictum that 'sex sells'.
The long label name follows the usual treatment of the time in that it follows the outer border, but is unusual in that it travels practically the entire circumference. The hand-scripted logo is a fine early example of an underlining swash, which was to become widely popular in the 1920s.
Among those ‘minor’ companies that flourished in France before the end of the first decade, there is one that stands out above all the others for its originality of organization and its technical excellence. A.P.G.A. (L’Association Phonique des Grands Artistes) was founded in May, 1906….The records were uniform in size: 27cm. or about 10½ inches….All A.P.G.A. records play at an average speed of 86 r.p.m., and I know of many that go well over 90. These extraordinary speeds might have accounted for the lack of sales….However, when pitched properly, these records are astoundingly good – I might venture to say better than any other needle-cut record of the period…."
- Victor Girard, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 1954