René Gruau was surely the most distinguished fashion illustrator of the last century. Through a remarkably long career - he started working in the thirties and was still active in the nineties - Gruau's seemingly effortless drawings came to define the very idea of elegance. His graphic sophistication reflected the influence of the posters of Toulouse-Lautrec and the work of the great Japanese print artists. Gruau worked for a number of the major Paris fashion houses, including Balmain, Dior and Saint Laurent, and for the theatre. His posters for the Lido and the Moulin Rouge perfectly express the spirit of Paris night life. With a few brushstrokes and a tightly disciplined palette - sometimes and to great effect just black and red - he captured the essence of a beautiful face, a sublime dress or a seductive gesture.
His career and oeuvre are well represented in: Joëlle Chariau, René Gruau, Munich, 1984; Réjane Bargiel and Sylvie Nissen, René Gruau, Paris, 1999.
'COVER STUDY FOR FRENCH VOGUE', 1987