René Gruau: Illustrator and Influencer

Rene Gruau

Featured in Graphis Magazine, Issue 43, René Gruau (1909-2004) was a master of his craft, becoming one of the most well known and best fashion illustrators of the 20th century. The Italian-born artist made a name for himself in both Paris and New York due to his flair and unique approach. He reshaped marketing for the entire fashion industry, thus leaving behind a tremendous legacy and instilling hope in future artists.

During a time where fashion photography was flourishing, which limited the necessity for fashion illustrators, Gruau found a way to maintain his career with great success. Possibly best known for creating the marketing images for Miss Dior perfume and for Rouge Baiser lipstick, Gruau’s career expanded beyond the fashion industry. He became an illustrator for women’s magazines, nightclubs, and ballet companies.

René Gruau’s style remained both simple and dramatic, utilizing only a few ink lines with blocks of color, generally red and black.

During his lifelong career, Gruau collaborated with multiple fashion houses, such as Givenchy, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Schiaparelli, and Dior. In the 1940s and 50s, his work with high-fasion magazines, including Marie-Claire, L’Officiel, and L’Album Du Figaro, gave him global recognition. René Gruau created advertising campaigns for Moulin Rouge, Lido de Paris, Dior, Air France, Martini, Omega watches, and for Fellini’s La Dolce Vita in 1959.

Recognized and commended internationally, Gruau’s work has been featured in some of Paris’s most prestigious art museums, including the Louvre, the Paris Musee du Cosume, and the Musee de la Publicite.

To see more of René Gruau’s work, click here.

Rene Gruau

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