The Poster Art Library; New York (2015) 320 pp. ; 12 1/2″ x 9 1/4″ ;
Beginning a career of lithographic poster art in the mid-1930s, as he did, Bernard Villemot(1911-1989) would have seemed to be handicapped in being underway just as the golden age of the metier was winding down. However, being from a family of very successful and affluent graphic designers, Villemot was, at an early age, exposed to those perennial avant-garde implications of that business which would counteract any sense of facile obsolescence.
The sensual priorities so salient in the cover choice above speak to a non-rational avant-garde in general and the work of painter, Henri Matisse in particular. Villemot was, from the get-go, aflame with the evergreen issues of sexy glamor as a selling point and a comprehensive vocation. Prose and poetry in tandem as a double-barrelled intervention within middling modern commercial life.
As a student of posterist, Paul Colin, Villemot’s early commissions for film promotions were conventionally muted. Here’s one, however, that allowed him to touch upon mysterious considerations. The title, Things to Come, is perfect for our account of a very forward-looking career!
Thirteen years after that compromised movie matter, a movie display giving vent to those Matisse dreams!
Villemot was born to alert us to the infinite powers and charms of cosmetics and fashion!
The iconic odalisques of Matisse, washed ashore to dazzle nuts and bolts ambitions. This was one of Villemot’s final projects.
I love how School of Paris energies dovetail with Surrealist flights!
This rare and brilliant work, from the 1950s, brims with cinematic savvy. The Coens’ film, Fargo, is not very far away!
Villemot also developed a vigorous purchase upon the quirky frisson available within the breezy design package of modernist graphic design. The banal-as-hell chewing gum sticks with the aptly dopey name take us somewhere we hadn’t expected.
Scenes of luxuriating at beaches and with sparkling summer beverages were a strong suit for Villemot’s strategy concerning the very modern imperatives of sensibility. Here is a flood of compositional and chromatic skill unsurpassed in the history of poster art!
Both another planet and planet Earth, this monumental inspiration brings high-tide (Normandie-scale) deco brio to the portals of the 21st century.
We have a history with this poster, having sold an instance to a restaurant in an upscale suburban Toronto strip mall. After dark, turning into its parking lot, at which the restaurant was situated, with the poster on a wall facing out, you had the marvellously strange illusion of entering a drive-in movie theatre with the feature already underway! The interior designer who purchased this work for the restaurateurs was Keith Rushbrook, now a principal of the internationally renowned 2by4, especially known for setting up Trump properties around the world.
This little blog merely provides a glimpse of the rich treasure that is this book comprising, 565 beautifully rendered posters–glowing with the amazing commitment and energy of its authors.
In closing, we’d like to express our gratitude for the generous acknowledgements which even further enhance our sense of this being one of our most special books!
Here’s more about Villemot: http://www.