In our blog about vintage graphic art which lifts off today, the hope is that we’ll all learn more about the excitement it brings. No one is in full control of that topic, and particularly the back and forth of blog discussion can elicit avenues we all need to consider more vigorously.
For instance, I’ll be posting a series of looks at vintage posters as appearing in movies—not simply to canvas for more such sightings, but to mull over what (if any) input they perform toward the impact of the film. Many of us have seen the smashing Marie-Clare stockings ad, by Pierre Fix-Masseau, on the wall by the cafe where Gene Kelly sings, “’Swonderful,” in An American in Paris. Does that color treat, glimpsed for only a few seconds, add something to the idea of wonderful, to the devotion of artisans at the heart of the charm of Paris? Gene is singing about the girl he’s just met, but that excitement rockets all around, to include the city where she lives and all that is wonderful about it. “You make my life so glamorous…” (In another vein, we have the cover of a 1925 Revue du Moulin Rouge program in the Flying Squadron bar at the outset of La Grande Illusion, supposedly taking place during World War I. Does the rakish, post-war insouciance of that illustration, anticipate Jean Gabin’s disillusion about nineteenth century gallantry and his emergent populism in the course of the action?)
So it is that we lead off with a cover design from the days when Fortune meant almost incredible panache. We’re all, the picture teases us, still very primitive in face of strange powers visiting us every day.