Monday 10 January 2011

René Gruau

The last few months of 2010 seemed to be about chasing time and never quite catching it- and so far 2011 has been about being calmer.

I have been trying to get back in touch with all kinds of culture- and this weekend I finally managed to get to the Dior Illustrated: René Gruau and the Line of Beauty exhibition at Somerset House, on its final day.

I know it isn't terribly helpful posting about something you can no longer see but of course you can see Gruau's drawing all over the internet.

There is a Gruau website which also has a link to the Gruau collection from where whom can buy prints of his work for Dior- my favourites are for Miss Dior above and Eau Savage below.

I think Gruau's work is charming but it must have also been a bit daring at the time- and the men's drawings especially do retain a certain edge.

It was a shame not to be able to buy a catalogue for this exhibition- so often you feel swamped by the inevitable merchandise at the end of touring a gallery but in this case I would have liked to find more.

As we walked around Dior Illustrated I found myself wishing illustration was used a little more in perfume and beauty (and perhaps all) advertising these days- photographs are what we are used to seeing but these pictures are in many ways more capable of inviting in dreams and more interesting to see- especially in magazines filled with pictures of faces that often look the same.

I wonder if Gruau knew his work might start to be collected? He was illustrating commercial work long before Andy Warhol or before the mainstream had really seen artistic value in advertising. The pictures on show were very fine, very detailed, pieces you would absolutely smile to see on your wall every day- as much as anything hanging over at the other end of the Somerset House Quad, where the permanent collection of more classical painting is held.


ScentScelf said...

I don't know if I've made clear or not, but I don't tend to think fashion is my thing. (ahem...)

BUT, I find myself engaging in behaviors which belie my general posture. As it were. Such as going to see The Golden Age of Couture exhibit (caught it in Nashville during last summer's road trip). I was...enthralled.

I really do love the idea of textiles, of clothing, especially through the eyes of a Morris ideal--practical AND beautiful...though I can find the humor and/or art in dressings which reach beyond.

It turns out what I don't have the stomach for is marketing, and the manufacture of taste.

All of which is prelude to the Gruau drawings...I of course know them through Dior advertisements. Very iconic, very humorous. I, too, would like to see a catalog of this exhibition. Am glad you were able to go.

Congrats on getting beyond the stoop and into local opportunities! :)

Linda said...

Dear Rose, I am so sorry to miss this, but so glad that you love Gruau's illustrations for Dior - my own favourites are the Diorella ones with the free spirited young lady striding out, but they're all wonderful.
I bought some cards with the illustrations and am going to frame them to display: so elegant!

Joan Hunter Dunn said...

I saw this exhibition over Christmas and wondered if you'd been to see it. I so enjoyed it and it's inspired quite a few blog posts too. I think my favourite is the Diorissimo of the woman's back with flowers.

Lobster and swan said...

I just adore his drawing with all the pink frilly tulle, I think it is a lingerie one, beautiful. Lucky you to make it just in time.

Rose said...

Hi Scent scelf- I like to think I follow the Morris model myself- although I fail sometimes I fail less nowadays. Gruau was wonderful though, I really enjoyed the exhibition and just the obviously slower pace of life when he was working actually really came through.

Hi Linda- those were featured! I agree she's lovely- I liked them all really but especially the Eau Savage ones funnily enough- the postcards sound brilliant

Hi JHD- So I see on your blog, wasn't the exhibition great? I would have quite liked some prints from the artists who were inspired by him too- oh for more walls

Hi L&S- I know the one! Yes I agree, I also loved all the ones for stockings actually, with the houndstooth skirts and trousers, he obviously liked legs whether they were male or female!

Holly Springett said...

I'm so disappointed to have missed the exhibition, was on my 'must visit' list but time just flew by! Looks like it was fabulous, what a shame there wasn't a catalogue to pick up!

Metropolitan Mum said...

Oh no! I can't believe I have missed it!! I remember the Somerset House newsletter when they announced the exhibition and how I thought I HAD to go - argh!!!

Dolly said...

I missed it too on my visit home at Christmas, just ran out of time. I wonder if my favourite was there, the Miss Dior one of the woman's hand lying on top of the leopard's paw?

Rose said...

Hi Dolly- they had that one yes! it's on the websites I mention too- and I agree I loved that one, I feel a bit like that leopard when I wear Dior (perfumes, I can't afford any other kind).