Whereas now we have the internet to put us into a state of dazzlement about the creative energies of the whole wide world, 75 years ago there was L’Illustration, the flagship of the French fleet of vehicles of visual impact.  
The cover shown in the first image gives a strong sense of the graphic concentration and lithographic powers invested in covering a stirring event, like the New York World’s Fair of 1939. Not to be overlooked are the generous dimensions–15″x 11 1/4″.

In the capture of a page of the report, shown directly above, we have a stunning example of the deluxe paper stock being introduced to first-rate photography, to an upshot of potent and captivating mystery.

Not surprisingly, there is much coverage of the Fair’s French Pavilion. Shown here is a painting by Impressionist, Alfred Sisley. Often in this magazine’s reportage through the period from 1920 to 1940, there are instances of such evocative initiatives as tracing into that twentieth-century design which L’Illustration was so eager to promote.

Another variant of great paper stock able to vigorously accommodate illustrative artwork. Here the pastel illustration of a cave of maturing champagne encompasses the earthy qualities of French deluxe craft.

The back cover is, in itself, a veritable probe of those sensuous discoveries so directly celebrated by that sensuality remarkably to the fore in French sensibility and reflective culture. As an ad for a glove manufacturer, this would be right up the alley for the graphic designer, Jean-Gabriel Domergue, whose trademark focus was the crosscurrent of intent emanating from tense and yet graceful hands. The panache with which the whole figure is endowed fascinatingly follows from that play of the hands.

                                               Another ad. Another marvel!

Not content to regale the reader with the wonders of the Fair, our package of rich design reports with exuberance upon an important event back on the home front—the opening of the Guerlain corporation’s “Institute of Beauty.” The article concludes with the flourish, “The magnificent Salon, where bay windows open upon the Champes Elysees, soon will become the meeting place for elegant, ‘Tout-Paris!'”


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