Passionated by fashion design, the italian René Gruau (1909 – 2004), is internationally known for his fashion and advertising illustrations. As a real self-taught artist, he published his first drawings in the Milan fashion magazine Lidel when he was only 15 years old. This successful experience led him to in Paris in 1928 where he started to work for famous magazines such as Le Figaro. It is at this time that he met another young fashion designer, and his future closest friend, Christian Dior. Parisian fashion and female figures grew under his pencil curves in woman magazines. Between 1935 and 1939, Gruau illustrated also for reviews Fémina, Marie-Claire, Vogue… Approached by the greatest fashion designers, he drew for Balenciaga, Fath, Piguet, Givenchy, Rochas and many others. He was not mobilized during the Second World War, and he decided to go to Cannes where were working the last french haute couture houses. Indeed, he was the first drawer to work with International Textiles since 1946 and he drew all the covers until 1984.
René Gruau came back to Paris in 1947 after the war. He joined his friend Christian Dior to create the post-war fashion until the mid-1980s. He was in charge of the advertissement of the first fragrance of the brand, Miss Dior. Msiter Dior has an entire faith in Gruau. He was totally free in his advertissement creations. In 1948, its success send him to the United States. He worked for Harper's Bazaar and occasionally for Vogue. Then, he became the exclusive artist of Flair magazine.
However, in consideration of his autonomy of creation and personal fulfillment, he decided to return to France to draw french fashion, represented by the figure of the Parisian woman, elegant and mysterious, with his three iconic colors: red, black and white.
From 1956, he doveted himself to cabaret drawings. He drew the advertising campaigns of legendary parisian cabarets such as Le Lido (1994), Le Moulin Rouge (1961) or the Casino de Paris. From the 1950s until his death in 2004 in Rome, René Gruau has been nicknamed "the last survivor of the great fashion illustrators". Very rich, the work of Gruau is a true advocacy of women beauty represented by the parisian woman or the leader of review. Witness of his time, Gruau has also visibly marked several generations by his work, timeless, in constantly reinventing french elegance.
In a tribute to the world of René Gruau, and the insolence of feminine beauty, we will present during our auction of May 15, 2019 a dozen drawings, gouaches and watercolors by René Gruau and other artists modern and impressionist.
May 15, 2019 at Espace Tajan, 37 rue des Mathurins 75008 PARIS or on the Live platform.