René Gruau: Master of Fashion Illustration
24 September - 8 October 2013
The art of René Gruau is a timeless expression of style, elegance and sophistication.
Gruau brought together in a unique way his absolute mastery of graphic art and his exceptional, innate appreciation of the magical constituents of fashion and glamour. His memorable images have a lasting ability to seduce and inspire. Gruau is rightly acclaimed as the greatest fashion artist of the last century, his name synonymous with the story of high fashion, and particularly the story of Parisian creativity through the second half of the 20th century – the glory years of haute couture and its related world of luxury.
Gruau’s long and illustrious career involved fruitful associations with the great magazines, among them Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Flair, and Elle, and with the most brilliant designers, notably through his long and close collaboration with the house of Dior.
Born Count Renato Zavagli Ricciardelle delle Camminate in 1909 to an aristocratic Italian father and a beautiful Parisian socialite, Marie Gruau, he found his destiny very young as a consummately refined illustrator of fashion. At first he signed his work René Gruau, and later adopted the distinctive cypher of a capital G and a star.
Gruau’s art is characterized by his fluid, expressive, and seemingly effortless lines, and by his ability to distill his subjects to their essence for maximum effect – a mouth, a coiffure, a gesture, the structure of a garment is each described so convincingly, and with such graceful economy of means.