B is For Boris

The life of Boris Grinsson could be a movie. Born a Russian Jew in 1907, he abandoned his dreams of acting to become a designer in Berlin. But then after doing an anti-Hitler poster depicting the Führer as an archangel of death in 1933, the Nazis soon came after him and he fled to rural France with his German wife. For years, he survived doing farmwork in the liberated zone, painting frescoes in dance bars, cafes, and, yes, movie theatres.

It wasn’t until after the war ended in 1944 that he was able to safely return to Paris and his one true love: designing movie posters. He joined The Synidcat, a French publicity agency, where the established veteran, Roger Soubie, got all the “A” films and Grinsson did all the “B” movies. But Boris finally found his calling as he soon became highly sought after and never met a commission he didn’t like, as he covered pretty much every genre from animated cartoons and comedies to epic period dramas and action thrillers.

A year before he died in 1999 at the age of 92, Stanislas Choko’s Galerie Intemporel organized a retrospective of his voluminous work at Espace Saint Jean in Melun, France.

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