Savignac Raymond

Raymond Savignac, who died at age 94 in 2002, was the last of the great Parisian poster artists. For several decades, his works lit up the Métro, and those by Savignac were the most entertainingly unmissable. Instead of glorifying the merchandise, as his mentor Cassandre did, Savignac made gentle fun of what was being sold.

His intellectual inspiration was Charlie Chaplin and other slapstick comedians, and he came to criticise later advertising for its lack of humor.

Savignac said that it took him 10 years to develop his own unique style. Part of this style involved grabbing the viewer’s attention with bold strokes and visual surprises. Another element was the creation of dreams. ”A poster creates the illusion if not of happiness, then at least of comfort and ease,” he said in the Tribune interview. ”It is optimism at its most absurd – no more indigestion, no more floating kidneys, no more unrequited love.”

Savignac did not take himself seriously either, and was bemused when late is his life his posters transitioned into the art space. When asked what he thought of today’s advertising, Mr. Savignac replied with his trademark wit: ”The first man to compare a woman to a rose was a genius, the second an imbecile.”

He claimed that his career began in 1949 with the poster, Monsavon Au Lait. “I simply thought of a cake of soap for Monsavon, and a cow for the milk,” he said. With a comic picture of a cow, it’s udders emptying themselves into a bar of soap, he made a visual scandal – and he went on making them well into his 90s.