Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rene Gruau

One of my favorite artists is Rene Gruau. He could depict a glamorous scene with just a few simple penstrokes. You could almost call his drawings 'high calligraphy' expanding on the victorian artform. Born in Rimini, Italy on February 4th 1909 to an aristroctratic father and legendary french beauty mother -he was christened Renato Conte de Savagli-Ricardelli. He had to support his mother after his father left them at age 15 and so abandoned his given name and took his mother's last name, Gruau as an act of revenge ( and also because it was shorter! ). Early in his career he came upon what would become a signature when in signing a piece a huge ink blot escaped his pen onto a finished drawing! He worked with it and called it his lucky star and kept it his entire life.

After a brief stint in fashion design in London in the 1930's -he soon started his career as a fashion illustrator in Paris for all the major magazines ( back when photography wasn't the staple it has become today ). He befriended Dior and actually encouraged him to start his own fashion house in 1947. He later became the primary illustrator for Dior and would do the illustrations for their perfume campaigns until the early 90s! After fashion magazines moved to photography for their fashion spreads, Gruau found his niche market in advertising -creating glamorous drawings that would leave readers lusting after the products they depicted!

Gruau passed away on March 31, in 2004 at the age of 95. While there have been several expositions of his work and many of his original drawings hang in prestigious museums, there is little published about his life or his work and he's not even on Wikipedia!!


Loda said...

He shares my birthday, which makes him cool in my book.

pve design said...

So thrilled that you posted these fabulous and elegant ladies! I have always loved Fashion Illustrators and this inspires me to do some of my Fashion Illustrations again.
Tres chic!

Be the change..... said...

I'm glad you enjoyed them, PVE! I hope to keep my blog full of varied inspirations :-)

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Hello BtC! and thanks for the heads up. I've been too wrapped up in my little universe of late to get out here and see what's what. This is a great post. A copy of the "Relax" poster used to hang in a friend's apartment (she is an editor of a luxe travel mag in NYC) and I admired it before I knew who Gruau was. And then to find that image ("Le Rouge Baiser") which led me to Pourquoi Pas magazine... it's amazing how much info the subconscious stores away. Thanks for filling in the gaps with this post. Thoroughly enjoyable and the kind of glamour and grace missing from today's hub-bub.

Be the change..... said...

Thanks EAEL! I remember seeing his images for years and liking them till I pieced it all together and realized they were all by the same artist and WHO he was!

Roberto Zaghi said...

Fantastic post, lovely blog! I'll add you to my links, hope you don't mind!

ArchitectDesign said...

Roberto, of course not! i'm flattered

Anonymous said...

Hi from Germany,
came upon your blog searching for Gruau.
I am looking for a picture of Gruau I have seen 1995 in Cannes at the exhibition. It is a Woman on a theatre balcony looking down on the stage.
Any ideas where I can find it? I even would buy it if it was on sale.
kind regards,
Bernd Kersting

lady yesterday said...

Thanks for posting theses old illustrations, I collect them and have alot of originals stuff on my blog
if you are interested.
I realy like your blog, nice mixture of things!