Bertrand, baby!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t dig up any biographical info on this French artist who goes by the name, Bertrand (not related to Yann Arthus-Bertrand or Bertrand Blier) — but his or her posters are definitely worth more than a thousand words…(Intemporel)

Tutti Frutti Cerutti

The 1930s and 1940s French posters of Henri Cerutti go down smooth as a sweet, fruity glacé. Hailing from the golden age of the gargantuous 4-panel poster (240×160 cm, or 94x 63 inches for you Americanos), Cerutti’s mural-sized designs were not only big, but beautifully elegant as well. (Intemporel)

eBay Deal of the Day: Timeless Books!

A few years ago, Stanislas Choko, owner of the renowned Intemporel Galerie in Paris, came out with a handsome set of poster books featuring legendary 20th Century French artists, Roger Soubie (Martine Boyer, Pierre Bourdy), Boris Grinsson (Jean Segura), Guy Gerard Noel (Christophe Capacci), and Jacques Bonneaud (Claude Bonneaud, Erwan Serveau).

(FYI, Intemporel means “Timeless” in English for all you non-Francophiles out there.)

Anyway, I recently discovered on Intemporel’s eBay store that Choko has slashed 60% off the prices of each book down to $15 (or, make that 12 Euros from the normal 29)!

So no matter where you’re from or what language you speak, this is an absolute steal as these handsome little tomés feature some of the most beautiful French posters ever created in the history of motion picture art…and thus will most likely be the closest chance I’ll ever have to getting my hands on them!

At first glance, picking a favorite of these books is like picking a favorite child. But since I don’t have kids, I’ll have to say that I probably most enjoyed the Boris Grinsson book. But of course I’m a little biased since I’m a huge Grinsson fan and love a lot of the comedy films he worked on. So depending on your personal taste, it’s really hard to go wrong with any one of these treasures.

IMHO, here are my takes on each of these lovely books below…

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.

The First Noël…

Guy Gérard Noël was born Guy Carré — but later changed his name to Noël because he was born on Christmas day (and also because I’m sure he felt the moniker gave him a little more caché as an artisté).

Although he is undoubtedly most remembered for his seriously spooky output on the Hammer Horror series of posters distributed by Universal from 1950-1973, I personally have always found his romantic drama pieces much more appealing. But that’s just me. If you really want to know Noël, then you must check out EatBrie’s scary collection or, of course, just buy the book.

After retiring to the French countryside in the late 60′s to illustrate books and record covers, Noël died of a heart attack in 1994 at the age of 82.


Soubie Special!

While Boris Grinsson was busy doing all the “B” movie posters for The Syndicat, Roger Soubie was the A-lister at the firm. And his top ranking was well deserved as his finely depicted sexy sirens and sci-fi scenarios indeed put him on another planet.

Martine Boyer and Pierre Bourdy’s book showcases Soubie’s flamboyant style with splashes of color and insight, illuminating the artist’s substantial entry into the 2,000+ club. But as lithography was supplanted by offset printing and photography, Soubie met the same fates as those of his comrades, Bonneaud, Grinsson, and Noël, and moved onto other areas of travel and advertising design work until his death in 1984 at the age of 86.

Bonneaud Appétit!

First up from The Stanislas Choko Collection is Jacques Bonneaud, who might very well have been the first modern-day poster artist workaholic. He never took vacations as every day at dawn, he would go to work alone at his studio, utilizing his talents for composing dramatic scenes with stunning portraiture and sumptuous colors. Often described as unrelenting, monastic, and unsociable (since he had few friends in the biz) — Bonneaud was a fast worker, which was rare in the lithography world.

But all of his hard work certainly paid off! Over a 35-year career from 1922-1957, he did over 2,000 film posters — even though he wasn’t a huge movie fan. Before each assignment, he simply read the script and took a cursory look at a few B&W publicity stills before he went back to the drawing board.

Unfortunately, at age 60, his style went out of style and he spent the last remaining years of his career at a print shop designing advertising labels for dairy products. However, his gorgeous work still lives on and now you can see it all here.

Soubie Doo!

The poster work of French artisté, Roger Soubie, is like a beautiful, unattainable woman. Chic. Sophisticated. And expensive! So it’s no wonder that his style translated well for his many vintage travel posters, too. And recently, Le Intemporel Gallerie in Paris came out with a limited edition book celebrating Mr. Soubie that you can peek at here.