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POSTER OF THE MONTH

vintage French sports poster Vichy 1948
Paul Colin
39” x 24 ½”
A-, L


The great Paul Colin's vintage poster for the convalescent spa, Vichy, in 1948 (very close, then, to its tenure as the headquarters of keeping the French populace in line during the days when the German military ruled the proverbial roost), is, first of all, a graphic design master's clinic in rich simplicity.
Let's start with that lyre, chording so well with the dark blue expanse. The vignettes seem to be entangled in it, as if they were functioning in prison playground. There is a rather urgent, red facsimile of the facility's race track. It could be showing someone breaking away from the entanglement.The imagery, though predominantly bent on fun, comes to us as rather joyless and tense. Just as the contrasting white tennis ball, in the nighttime range, appears to be beyond the woman's reach (or is it a flubbed drive by the golfer?), there is the other instance of the hand holding what appears to be far from a joyous beverage, seeming a French prerogative. The mineral springs of the Vichy region had been for many years prior to the War a place of restoring flagging sensibility. Is Colin betting on verve, or more of the wartime dispiritedness? That the restorative action only comprises the period May to October may alert us to a less than full-fledged drive to overcome doldrums.
It is unlikely that the average viewer of this work would find anything amiss here. The lyre would strike them as promising some fine classical concerts, some fun in the park and a shot of go-juice. Colin, the owner of a reflective design profit centre, seems to be speaking to a wide and diverse clientele.

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