Over the course of my rummaging through the various back alleyways of the internet, I stumbled upon this wonderful artist: Rene Gruau (1909-2004) . He was an Italian Fashion Illustrator whose given name was Renato Zavagli Ricciardelli. Of course he may not have had the noir genre in mind while creating his works, but as a contemporary of the golden age of noir its influence is undoubtedly present in the brush strokes. Here are some cool details from wikipedia:
“He demonstrated talent for drawing throughout much of his early life and worked as an illustrator for fashion magazines such as Femina, Marie Claire and Vogue in Paris in his teens and early 20s. Gruau found it difficult to find work during World War II and ultimately found little work for small or unestablished designers such as Christian Dior before he became popular during this time. He worked as he could and contributed to the concealment of Jewish refugees.”
“In his lifetime, Gruau worked for numerous magazines including Marie-Claire, Femina, Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Flair, L’Officiel, and Madame Figaro, and L’Officiel de la Couture. Gruau was hired by major designers like Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, Jacques Fath, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Rochas, Lanvin, Elizabeth Arden, and Hubert de Givenchy. Gruau gave life to their haute couture clothing and expanded their popularity with his captivating illustrations. Gruau’s illustrations reinvented many of the designs and gave them lambency and radiance that the fashion industry previously lacked. Gruau, whose posters often echoed both classical Japanese drawings and Toulouse-Lautrec’s sketches of fin de siècle Paris night life, was perhaps best known for creating the marketing images for Miss Dior perfume and for Rouge Baiser lipstick.”
Rene Gruau has contributed some of the most stunning noir art I’ve ever seen. What a champion.