• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2062

    Important 20th Century Decorative Art & Design

    16 December 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 280

    RENE GRUAU (1909-2004)


    Price Realised  


    RENE GRUAU (1909-2004)
    Poster Design for Moulin Rouge, 1983
    gouache on paper
    25 5/8 x 19¾ in. (65 x 50 cm.)

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    Sold with certificate of authenticity signed by Gruau.

    cf. R. Bargiel and S. Nissen, René Gruau, Paris, 1999, p. 70 for the preliminary ink sketch for this project.

    This design for a poster can deservedly claim a privileged place in the story of great poster design for the Paris stage. Conveying his characteristic impression of creative spontaneity, artist René Gruau has conjured forth a striking evocation of the spectacle of the Moulin Rouge, the most emblematic bastion of Parisian musical revue. Reviving a tradition established by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec during the Belle Epoque, Gruau's eye-catching posters for the Moulin Rouge and the Lido deftly convey the spirit of the sophisticated spectacle that awaits the shows' audiences - the graphic elegance of his images a timeless homage to the glamour of Parisian night life.

    The present project demonstrates Gruau's skill at maximum effect achieved through an apparent economy of means: a single central figure, a limited palette of black, yellow and red, no tonal gradation, minimal detail - yet a high-impact, memorable result and a very clear message.