I thought I’d begin 2020 as I ended 2019 – writing in French!
Why? I have no idea.
Plus, it’s a tad late for New Year salutations.
I’ve wanted to write a post about Saul Leiter for many a moon.
Why? I have no idea.
Wait, I do. Because I love his work, that’s why. And I thought it only right and proper I shared the love.
I am intrigued by his voyeuristic style. Apart from Leiter being a pioneer of early colour photography, he managed to capture slices of the Big Apple’s social and cultural life in 1940s and 50s America. I think the compositions are very cinematic and each character could inspire a short story.
He said his early influences were the Impressionists Degas, Bonnard and Vuillard. But I’d venture to chuck Toulouse-Lautrec into the pot as well.
And he wasn’t just a dab hand at photography. He was pretty good at dabbing with a paint brush too. (Quite a few of his paintings are over-painted photographs.)
I’m not going to blather on giving you his life story, you can do that here. I just want to show you some pretty pictures. So, here you go…
Somewhere between homicide and suicide is Merseyside.
So said the infamous Milton Jones.
However, on a recent jaunt to Liverpool to visit a client I took the opportunity to pop into the Walker Gallery and was rewarded with a life-affirming exhibition of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec’s etchings and prints.
An absolute privilege to be able to view his work up close. Not just for his energetic painting style capturing the seedier side of Parisian nightlife, but also for his art direction and typography.
Over the years we’ve all seen posts about whether advertising can be art, and I’m pretty sure that it can’t whilst it is selling something. I think it can transcend into art after it has served its purpose and becomes era defining.
In Lautrec’s case, I’ll make an exception, as he was already well known for being an artist when he was commissioned to create posters for various clubs and salons.
Any art director or designer, whether they are interested in art or not, should be aware of the influence of art in layout design purely from a composition point of view.
In this Jane Avril example I love the way he frames the ‘ad’ using the double base. (How many ‘frames’ have we seen like this for contemporary brands?)
If you’re in the North West, and have a penchant for advertising or art, I’d advise you to take a trip to the Walker. It was my first time, and I shall definitely be going again.