Wednesday, 25 April 2012
In my last post, I wrote about Alsace and amazing tastes coming from this region. And Alsace is giving me the opportunity to pass to a new issue of my favorite illustrators series: indeed I actually stumble upon a very cute illustration of 1962 made by Hervé Morvan for L'Alsacienne, a historical brand of cookies - which alas does no more exist nowadays. This firm, founded in 1904, was one of most famous French producers of cookies, and its "heroine", called friendly la Petite Sophie (the little Sophie), was its logo since its incorporation. When Morvan was called to redefine the public visage of this brand, la Petite Sophie became so cute that, even if supermarkets do not sell this cookies yet, she's able to delight everybody at the first sight!!
Morvan was, along with Raymond Sevignac, Bernad Villemot, and Jean Colin, one of most famous French illustrators for commercial advertising of 1950s and 1960s. This period was the core of the economic boom in many European regions, and society was swiftly getting through a transformation of taste and habits... the mass society was coming in France as well and a period of economic welfare was opening the door to new needs and new way of consummations. In this context, advertising had a key role for firms, which started to wrestle for having the best image to find their way into people's hearts. Illustrators reshaped by this way the visual idea of brands also for future generations... Once Raymond Sevignac argued that successful advertisement had to be "visual scandals"; Morvan made maybe even better, he produced immortal cuties.
Yet, not everybody knows that Morvan started his artistic activity in relation to cinema. While during 1930s carried out an initial activity as drawer of cinemas' frontages - I think during this period was common that cinemas changed their fronts to adapt them to movies they were projecting - in 1940 he started a new career. He was (luckily) rejected from army for an illness and during the war he became one of most famous illustrator for movie posters... almost all big success since than were signed by Hervé Morvan. It was nice for me to discover that one of my favorite films, De Sica's Ladri di Biciclette (Bicycle Thieves), here in France was promoted with a Morvan's advertisement, which you can admire here above.
Morvan influenced commercial communications for longtime and still today some of his draws are more than simply "ads"; some illustrations can be considered real master pieces, such as this Gitanes' cigarettes poster. Art and business in a certain way came together and mass society was not yet so trivial in its attempt to convince people to consume. And that is more true since nearby the Louvre was opened Les Arts Décoratifs, a museum dedicated to design (industrial and not), advertising and mass society. If you had the change to get in Paris, I suggest you to pop in and see the special collections about "Advertising museum" that are organized in it.
And, inspired by the cute Petite Sophie, I reproduced this Morvan's draw used for an Alsacienne's advertising... I hope you like it, it was so funny to be carved!!!