Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Irresistibly Delectable Eye Candy


Two words: Pure Glamour.

René Gruau, fashion illustrator extraodinaire, sometimes with intricate attention to detail, at other moments with a few broad strokes of his brush, captured post war glamour with its sizzle, sparkle, humor and sensuousness better than any other artist in the history of the métier.






Recently a friend and I were discussing fashion illustration and at the same instant both of us said, Gruau (!)

He collaborated with Givenchy, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Schiaparelli and Dior among other "brands" and fashion creators and left an indelible legacy that far surpassed an illustration designed to sell a product. He was an artist in the truest sense of the word. At the same time his flair captured the essence of the esprit, whimsey, desire and aspirations of women, and I would argue, continues to do so. Clearly, a glance at his paintings and you know he loved women.

His work is in some of the world's most important museums, including the Louvre, and many of his oeuvres have been sold at the finest auction houses, Christie's among them.





In his biography, explaining that his real name was Renato Zavagli Ricciardelli, born in Italy, February 4, 1909, to an Italian count and a French aristocrat, Maria Gruau, he is described as an artist who:  ". . .defines with glamour and sensuality a feminine universe made of luxury, frivolity, futility and narcissism as the most natural thing in the world."





I think frivolity has an irresistible charm, maybe we should have a little bit more in our lives. I think too narcissism is unfair. I think he painted divine women who loved to dress up, make up and get out there to have a good time. If that's narcissism, bring it on.

Enough words. Pictured here are some of my favorites by the late, great, brilliant René Gruau (Feb. 1909-March 2004).

25 comments:

Dash said...

Beautiful post Tish, I love his work.
XXX

Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle... said...

Love, love, love these illustrations. Thank you for casting a new light on this talented artist. I agree with you: Nothing is wrong with frivolity. In fact, this depressing world could use a lot more of it! Happy Thanksgiving Tish! Did you find "a dinde" in your [French] neck of the woods?-- Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

kathy peck said...

One of my favorite fashion illustrators. Beautiful examples of his work, and yes to more frivolity, which seems to have gone missing from life.

LuxeBytes said...

I love his work as well. It's so spirited and glamorous ... yet playful. Very French, in other words.

xoxoxo --
Marsi

hopflower said...

Yah! I have always loved his illustrations My favourite is the one where he advertises for Diorissimo-it is a man holding a great bunch of flowers. He is practically hidden behind the bouquet!

Joni said...

J'adore!

Tricia Rose said...

Thank you for introducing me to this delightful artist! (I will simply ignore the misogynist description: he himself had nothing of that).

Lily Lemontree said...

How divine is this artist and his illustrations!!
I have always been a fan of his work and have a few reproductions of his sketches adorning my dressing room! (The middle image in blue greets me every morning)
What a wonderful post!

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

What a creative and clever artist. These are such evocative images.
Its work like this that I am craving and missing in this current high tech world...
perhaps there will be a return to this kind of elegance.

Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life said...

A delight to see these marvellous illustrations... such a gifted artist... thank you for sharing!

Lorrie said...

I love these illustrations. The one of the woman in the azure/moonlight dress (full length) peeking through the door caught my breath. Just gorgeous!

déjà pseu said...

Absolutely stunning. Thanks for sharing these!

Chicatanyage said...

Gorgeous illustrations. What a talent!

Anonymous said...

Love these amazing works. He captured the spirit with a few brushstrokes. Thank you for sharing the name of this master.

Duchesse said...

Passed up a chance to buy an original sketch in the '70s for very little, still kicking myself.

Taradharma said...

beautiful illustrations. In some of them, a Japanese Zen sensibility prevails.

And Frivolity? Bring it on!

Carol said...

l love, love, love his work. It has the ability to transport us back to the heady days of outrageous glamour.
Thank you for reminding us that frivolity does indeed, still have a place in our lives

quintessence said...

I ADORE his work!! Elegant, sophisticated and timeless!!

That's Not My Age said...

We had a Rene Gruau exhibition in London last year - it was fabulous! Beautiful work.

California Girl said...

I've seen many of his illustrations but didn't know the artist. Thanks for posting!

Happy Thanksgiving. Forty years ago today I was having Thanksgiving in Paris with my European travel partner. We were 20 years old and it was memorable indeed.

vicki archer said...

Beautiful illustrations... Lovely to be reminded Tish... xv

Caroline@thebalancedapproach said...

I love these illustrations - what talent! If I had to pick a favourite it would be the the girl in red and white striped pants/top! So simple yet it says so much.

Lost in Provence said...

Bring it on! Absolutely. A little bit of lightness? We could all use a dose.

Why oh why did I not buy one of his lithographs all those years ago when I found one that I could almost afford? Sigh.

MarthaB said...

I am overwhelmed by these images! Thank you for posting so many.... Suddenly I am feeling that we live our lives today far too quickly... Gruau is a reminder to pay attention to the details and les petits soins...

Susan Tiner said...

Those are beautiful illustrations, I'm familiar with a few of them. Yes, you can tell he loved women.

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