At the outset of lithographic poster communications (in the 1890’s), an inspired French designer, Jules-Alexandre Grun, hit upon color cues to evoke the addictive verve and uncanniness of Belle Epoque Paris delights.
Enthusing with prospective clients for the goods and services he promoted, Grun laid it on the line that nighttime and nightlife were where it’s at. Therefore, he sharpened down his color scheme to consist almost entirely of eerie black and volcanic red.
As the late-nineteenth century avant-garde (within which Grun’s work was a popular adjunct) morphed into twentieth-century excitements, the emblematic red/black invasion was maintained, to evoke less pervasively bawdy and more subtle encroachments.
This Spanish announcement of a nocturnal festival, centering upon torching papier mache versions of mainstream figures, perfectly captures the insurrection roiling within that engagement of those magic colors.
The French, bless them, tend to stress the fun elements of their revolutions, and French art deco is nothing if not a big baguette-full of delicious fun.
Music and dance—Paul Colin’s great tribute to the mystique of dynamics.
A distinguished contemporary exponent of this visual cuisine was the Italian graphic designer, who called himself (after his French mother’s name), Rene Gruau, in keeping with the real hotbed of incisive partying.

Our Poster of the Month for March is another take (by Gruau) on flashing red and black to make a difference. Here we have frappe in the afternoon, introducing an “impeccable” working girl as going somewhere new.

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This entry was posted in Art Deco Posters&Graphics, Art Nouveau/Belle Époque Posters&Graphics, Illustration Art, Illustrators, Poster&Graphic Art, Poster&Graphic Artists and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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