Monday, 10 January 2011
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.