10 April 2022

Published by M. Bonnist & Zonen

M. Bonnist & Zonen was a Dutch publishing company located in Amsterdam. The name of the publisher is sometimes abbreviated to M.B. & Z. During the 1920s and 1930s, Bonnist published hundreds of film postcards. The firm published several postcards for the blossoming Dutch film industry of the 1930s but also postcards with star portraits or film scenes of popular Hollywood and European films.

Renée Adorée and John Gilbert, The Big Parade (1925)
Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, no. 115. Renée Adorée and John Gilbert in The Big Parade (King Vidor, 1925). Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Dorothea Wieck and Hertha Thiele in Mädchen in Uniform (1931)
Dutch Postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam, Z., no. 104 e. Photo: Fim Film, Amsterdam. Dorothea Wieck and Hertha Thiele in Mädchen in Uniform/Girls in Uniform (Leontine Sagan, Carl Froelich, 1931).

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen Amsterdam. Photo: Warner Bros. Publicity still for Golddiggers of 1933 (Mervyn LeRoy, 1933). Collection: Amsterdam EYE Filmmuseum.

Madeleine Renaud and Paulette Élambert in La Maternelle
Dutch postcard by M.B.& Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen). Photo: Muntfilm, Amsterdam. Madeleine Renaud and Paulette Élambert in La Maternelle (1933). The card bears the stamp of the Dutch National Board of Film Censors.

Jean Harlow and Wallace Beery in Dinner at Eight (1933)
Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, no. B335. Photo: M.G.M. Jean Harlow and Wallace Beery in Dinner at Eight (George Cukor, 1933). Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Marlene Dietrich
British-Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam, no. B 351. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still for The Scarlet Empress (Josef von Sternberg, 1934) with Marlene Dietrich as Catherine the Great, the notorious Empress of Russia.

The only importer of international film star photos


Maurits Bonnist (1871-1935)  started out in Amsterdam as a diamond cutter but later set up a publishing company in advertising, photographs, and reproductions.

One of his sons, David (Donald) Maurits Bonnist, joined the company in 1924. In 1939, he and his bride Serine van Embden (an artist) went to America on their honeymoon. Unable to return to their homeland due to the war, Bonnist resigned from the parent company in Holland and the following year founded the Donald Art Company in America.

At the international exhibition 'Klank en Beeld' (Sound and Vision) in Amsterdam in 1932, M. Bonnist & Sons had a stand. In a newspaper article, the firm was described as follows: "The firm M. Bonnist & Sons in Amsterdam is the only importer of international film star photos. It has more than a thousand different ones!"

The Bonnist cards have the regular postcard size (14 x 9 cm). And there are not any colorised motifs in the collection. The motifs show excellent quality and most do have an edge around.

The individual card numbers can't be seen on the front sides, they are listed on the reverse sides. Besides unnumbered cards, two numbered series can be distinguished: Numbers 100 to 135 without a B in front of the number. Number B136 to B499. There are both cards of film stars and of film scenes.

Very popular stars in the Netherlands during the 1930s were Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo. Bonnist & Zonen paid tribute to Garbo with 100 postcards showing her unique beauty to the whole world.

Maurits Bonnist died in 1935. His wife, Elisabeth Bonnist-Vredenburg, was killed in the Nazi extermination camp Sobibor in 1943. Their children Jules and Willy died in 1941. 

Donald survived the war in the US. In the following decades, his American firm Donald Art Company grew to be recognised as one of the leading picture publishing companies in the world. Donald Bonnist passed away in 1986.

Dickie Moore RIP (1925-1015)
British postcard, distributed in the Netherlands by M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam, no. 136e. Photo: Paramount. Marlene Dietrich and Dickie Moore in Blonde Venus (Josef von Sternberg, 1932).

Karin Hardt in Acht Mädels im Boot (1932)
Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam, no. 146. Photo: Filma, Amsterdam. Karin Hardt in Acht Mädels im Boot/Eight Girls in a Boat (Erich Waschneck, 1932).

Dolly Haas in So ein Mädel vergisst man nicht (1932)
Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam, Z., no. B 168. Photo: Filma, Amsterdam. Dolly Haas in So ein Mädel vergisst man nicht/A Girl You Don't Forget (Fritz Kortner, 1932).

Dorothea Wieck in Cradle Song (1933)
Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam-Z., no. B 299. Photo: Paramount. Dorothea Wieck in Cradle Song (Mitchell Leisen, 1933).

Greta Garbo and Herbert Marshall in The Painted Veil (1934)
Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam, no. B 422. Photo: MGM. Greta Garbo and Herbert Marshall in The Painted Veil (Richard Boleslawski, 1934).

Johan Kaart jr., Willy Costello and Jan van Ees in De Jantjes (1934)
Dutch postcard by M. B.& Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Hollandia Film Prod. / Loet C. Barnstijn. Johan Kaart jr., Willy Costello and Jan van Ees in De Jantjes/The Tars (Jaap Speyer, 1934).

Enny Meunier and  Roland Varno in Malle gevallen (1934)
Dutch postcard by M. B.& Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam), no. 10. Photo: Loet C. Barnstijn Film. Enny Meunier and Roland Varno in Malle gevallen/Ludicrous Events (Jaap Speyer, 1934).

Truus van Aalten in Het meisje met den blauwen hoed (1934)
Dutch postcard by M. B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Filma. Truus van Aalten in Het meisje met den blauwen hoed/The girl with the blue hat (Rudolf Meinert, 1934). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Lou Bandy in Het Meisje met de Blauwe Hoed (1934)
Dutch postcard by M. B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Filma. Lou Bandy in Het Meisje met de Blauwe Hoed/The girl with the blue hat (Rudolf Meinert, 1934).

Fien de la Mar in  Bleeke Bet (1934)
Dutch postcard by M. B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Dick van Maarseveen, Den Haag / Monopole Film. Fien de la Mar in Bleeke Bet/Pale Betty (Alex Benno, Richard Oswald, 1934). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Aaf Bouber, Bleeke Bet
Dutch postcard by M.B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Dick van Maarseveen, Den Haag / Monopole Film. Aaf Bouber in Bleeke Bet (Alex Benno, Richard Oswald, 1934). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Jan van Ees and Esther de Boer-van Rijk in Op hoop van Zegen (1934)
Dutch postcard by M.B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Dick van Maarseveen, Den Haag / M.H.D. Film. Jan van Ees and Esther de Boer-van Rijk in Op Hoop van Zegen/The Good Hope (Alex Benno, Louis Saalborn, 1934).

Fien de la Mar, Frits van Dongen in Op stap (1935)
Dutch postcard by M.B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Dick van Maarseveen, Den Haag / Nationaal Film. Frits van Dongen and Fien de la Mar in Op stap/On the Move (Ernst Winar, 1935).

Henriëtte Davids, Adolphe Engers and Jopie Koopman in Op stap (1935)
Dutch postcard by M.B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Dick van Maarseveen, Den Haag / Nationaal Film. Henriëtte Davids, Adolphe Engers and Jopie Koopman in Op stap/On the Move (Ernst Winar, 1935).

Sylvain Poons in De familie van mijn vrouw (1935)
Dutch postcard by M. B.& Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam). Photo: Loet C. Barnstijn Productie. Sylvain Poons in De familie van mijn vrouw/My Wife's Family (1935).

Clark Gable and Jean Harlow in China Seas (1935)
Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam, no. B 447. Photo: M.G.M. Jean Harlow and Clark Gable in China Seas (Tay Garnett, 1935). Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Herbert Marshall and Marlene Dietrich in Angel (1937)
Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam, no. B 480. Photo: Paramount. Herbert Marshall and Marlene Dietrich in Angel (Ernst Lubitsch, 1937). Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Deanna Durbin and Melvyn Douglas in That Certain Age (1938)
Dutch postcard by M. Bonnist & Zonen, no. 115. Photo: Universal. Deanna Durbin and Melvyn Douglas in That Certain Age (Edward Ludwig, 1938). Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Imperio Argentina
Dutch postcard. M.B.& Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam), no. 199. Photo: Cifesa. Imperio Argentina. Cifesa was a big Spanish distribution company between the mid-1930s and the early 1960s.

Hedy Lamarr
Dutch postcard by M. B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam), no. 1059. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Hedy Lamarr.

Deanna Durbin
Dutch postcard by M. B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam), no. 1076. Photo: Universal. Deanna Durbin. Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Jean Gabin in Le jour se lève (1939)
Dutch postcard by M. B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam), no. 1206. Photo: Raymond Voinquel / Nova Film. Jean Gabin in Le jour se lève/Daybreak (Marcel Carne, 1939).

Lizzi Waldmüller
Dutch postcard by M. B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam), no. 1215. Photo: Godfried de Groot. Lizzi Waldmüller.

Aino Taube in Laila (1937)
Dutch postcard by M. B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen, Amsterdam), no. 1224. Photo: Fan Film. Aino Taube in Laila (George Schnéevoigt, 1937).

Sources: Lodewijk van Duuren (VDP - Dutch), The Donald Art Company, and Garbo Forever.

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