Je Reviens! Away a bit longer from this blog than I had planned, but it is really rewarding to see the number of site visitors maintained, and one day even reaching 5,000!, so thankyou all. I will be moving to a new format in the next month or so, to enable easier viewing of previous posts, popular posts etc.
For now though, some posters of A.M. Cassandre (Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron; 1901-1968) which are up for sale amongst some superb offerings at Swann Galleries in NYC on May 10th. Cassandre is probably best known for his series of posters for Dubonnet. Wikipedia has a brief but to the point entry on his life and work HERE . Sadly he suffered from frequent bouts of depression and committed suicide in 1968.
I didn’t know until I read more about his work that he developed a number of typefaces which were an important part of his poster designs. Amongst them were
- Acier Noir (1936)
- Bifur (1929)
- Peignot (1937)
There are quite a number of beautiful and some rare Cassandre posters in the auction…..here are some which took my eye: Check out the whole catalogue at Swann HERE
In 1935, Cassandre designed this image for Nicolas, the wine merchant, which was never published. In 1984, the image was repurposed by Willi’s Wine Bar and issued as their first poster. This is one of the rare surviving copies of the first printing, which was printed under the supervision of Henri Mouron, Cassandre’s son.
This poetic depiction of a woman floating through the cosmos with host of celestial seashells accompanying her was never chosen as a cover for Harper’s Bazaar. But it is one of Cassandre’s most tender and surrealist images done during that time, and can well be considered a turning point in his work. The way in which he renders the arms and face of the woman, the detail of her gown, and the shells, all announce the style he would use for his theatre costumes in the following decades. Suntory p. 120.
In 1935, the Swiss tobacco company Vautier commissioned Cassandre to design a series of four posters. For these, he turns away from the “neo-realist” style he had used the previous year on a poster he designed for Celtique cigarettes, which was almost like an object poster of the cigarette package. For the Swiss company, he uses the motif of a giant hand and depicts the cigarettes, cigars and pipes of the company appearing en situ with smokers. In addition to changing his graphic approach, Cassandre was also changing his artistic style at this time. This image is more painterly than his previous posters, with rich layers of color and a more realistic handling of light and shadows. That the cigarettes contain American tobacco is made clear in the lettering at the bottom. Mouron pl. 57, Suntory p. 178.