René Gruau

From the beginning of his career in the 1920’s to the year of his death in 2004, Gruau never ceased to draw and work.

Born in Italy in 1909 , with an Italian father and a French mother.
His father was an aristocrat, withgreat expectations for his young son: he wanted him to be a diplomat and resented his son’s passion for drawing. But Gruau followed his elegant mother — his first model — a jetsetter, traveler and fashionista, throughout Italy and then to Paris
During the post-war period, he reached the summit of his career as he worked with the most brilliant fashion designers such as Dior, Givenchy and Lanvin, and high class music-halls such as the Moulin Rouge and the Lido — clients whom he continued to work with later on. my favourite being his work with Dior.

Not only was Gruau an Illustrator and a poster artist, he also sold paintings, designed costumes and stage sets, and even created his own collection of clothing in 1948-49

One of the main characteristics of Gruau’s style is the importance he puts on what he calls “la ligne” (the line) — as the line that forms his star-topped signature — a concept reminiscent of Cappiello, whom Gruau greatly admired, and his “arabesque.”

For Gruau, a line also often implies a movement. Therefore, throughout his long career, Gruau always made a point of working with models, refusing to create pure paper beings. The artist based a lot of his creations on his models’ movements, attitudes, expressions. Because for Gruau a poster should have ‘a strong personality’ and because, to him, drawing was so much about style, he chose his models very carefully. Some of the most elegant ladies of the time, such as Nitzah Bricard, Dior’s muse, or the model Bettina Graziani, posed for him.


1 thought on “René Gruau”

  1. I really like the more traditional style of his work. I like the composition of his posters, particularly where he placed the figure as well as the more flowing poses that he drew his figures in. I like how he didn’t try to achieve an all out realistic look in his figure drawings & rather stuck to more of a semi realistic style.


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