Most of Animalarium's visitors are likely already familiar with Raymond Savignac (1907-2002),
one of the most celebrated French poster artists of the past century. He is also one of my favorites,
thanks to the graceful spontaneity, cleverness and gentle humor of his works. Savignac left school
at 15 and went to work as a draftsman and commercial artist. He started designing posters in 1935
under the direction of the great Cassandre, and in the next ten years developed his own unique style.
and to his famous design for Monsavon milk soap.
Cinzano and Quinzaine de la laine, 1951.
Sommeil = Equilibre and DOP journées des enfants propres, 1953.
Savignac viewed commercial art as "optimism at its most absurd", and "the creation of a fleeting image
which people will not forget". He was very successful at putting these ideas into practice, and his
trademark style based on bold, surprising, happy and colorful illustrations was much appreciated.
During his long and prolific career, he designed over six hundred advertising posters for companies
like Air France, Olivetti, Piaggio, Renault and Perrier.
Tintin Orange, 1962, and Omo enrichi, 1963.
Savignac spent the last 23 years of his life in Trouville, a small resort town on the coast of Normandy,
and created numerous posters for local events. These late works are still as fresh, bright and cheerful as ever,
showing no sign that he was in his eighties and saw himself as "an old brontosaurus who does a job that
no longer exists for a species that's well on its way to extintion" (from an interview with Le Monde, 1986).
La Fête, 1977, Galerie Delorme, 1990, and Championnats d'orthographe, 1992.
Today Trouville displays his works in the Montebello Museum, on a beachfront walk dedicated to him,
and on wall murals around town. The ever ironic Savignac had called the art world's celebration
of his commercial work "nonsensical", and told Le Monde that he would have never created
advertising posters, had he known that people would regard them as high art.