Posters as Artwork

by Liz Dowling

A few years ago, my husband and I were celebrating a certain birthday I won’t share with you, when we saw this poster in the window of a small shop.  The brilliant green color and bird hat on this wonderful woman stopped both of us.

The store was Galerie Documents at 53 rue de Seine in Paris.  We walked in and spoke to the charming owner, and left with this lady tucked under our arm.

Poster illustrated by Rene Gruau

Poster illustrated by Rene Gruau

The artist, Rene Gruau, was a renowned fashion illustrator who became one of the best known and favorite artists of the haute couture world during the 1940s and 50s.  The store owner didn’t mention anything to us about the artist.  We were just excited to have another option for our walls!

Two lipstick ads by Rene Gruau on either end

Two lipstick ads by Rene Gruau on either end

Gruau’s artwork is recognized internationally in some of France and Italy’s most prestigious art museums, including the Louvre.  He collaborated with fashion houses such as Givency, Lanvin, Balenciaga, Balmain and Dior during his career.  He moved to the US in 1948 to work for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue before becoming the exclusive artist for Flair.  We grabbed the two lipstick ads by him above a few years later and love how they look in our living room.

This is my latest Gruau acquisition. I found it in Palm Springs this February. I love his signature! An asterisk with his last name or just with the letter G below it.


Bernard Villemot is another French graphic artist we discovered along the way.  He is known for his iconic images of Orangina, Perrier and Air France from the 1950s.

P1030508  P1030516

We love how colorful and fun his images are, and they can be very reasonable if you want to decorate your walls with something different.  Villemot won every award in his field, and was considered the greatest French “posterist” of his time.  He died in 1989.

Villemot in our office

Villemot in our old Rye office

It is hard for us to resist when we find a new poster by one of these artists or others.  We have collected so many new ones over the years. They add brilliant color to a room and an interesting piece of history – all at a wonderful value.

This was a find (the poster is HUGE) two years ago in Paris, again at the Galerie Documents. I walked in and somebody else was looking at her and bartering with the owner. I took one look, grabbed the owner by the arm and said I would take it. Framed, she fills an entire wall in our living room. Happy Hunting!

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Cynthia April 14, 2024 - 10:12 am

Hi Liz, this is a fabulous post! I love your style!!
Hope you’re having a nice spring – sounds like you are 😉
What’s your coaching page?

Liz Dowling April 14, 2024 - 10:17 am

Thank you Cynthia! My coaching page is a tab at the top of my blog.
Hope you are well!!!!

Melinda sweet April 17, 2024 - 1:54 pm

SO clean are the lines in all the furniture, architecture with the backdrop of the mountains. Really a good look at a very popular spot!

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