Monsavon au Lait, Raymond Savignac

Brilliant poster artist who brought colour, wit and style to the French advertising industry.
Raymond Savignac, who has died aged 94, was the last of the great Parisian poster artists. For several decades, their works lit up the métro, and those by Savignac were the most entertainingly unmissable. 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, its udders emptying themselves into a bar of soap, he made a visual scandal - and he went on making them well into his 90s.
Before Monsavon, Savignac served a long apprenticeship. Born in Paris, he left school at 15 and spent a miserable time in the city's transport drawing office, until he found a job with a company making cartoon films for advertising. Here, his work involved drawing figures, cutting them out, and making them move for the camera. In later years, he would always cite film - especially American comedies - as his inspiration. He enjoyed illustrating the products and copying the existing posters, often drawn by the much-admired affichistes, who were almost as well known as the products they advertised.

Use your account at checkout.

Sign up for our Newsletter