I am always drawn to the light-hearted humour and bright color palette of mid-century
illustrated posters. Their simple, playful and optimistic approach to advertising
is exemplified by the work of Hervé Morvan, who along with his friend and competitor
Raymond Savignac defined the style of French commercial art in the 1950s.
Chocolat Lanvin, ca. 1950
Morvan was born in 1917, and after studying in Paris at the Ecole des Arts Appliqués,
started his professional career in 1934 painting film ads on movie theatre façades.
In 1942 he created his first movie poster, which was followed by over a hundred more.
Among them were cinema classics such as The Grand Illusion, Les Enfants du Paradis and Gigi.
until Morvan's death in 1980. Morvan started to design advertising posters in 1949, and soon
attracted major clients including Perrier, Bally, Gitanes, Esso, Evian, Danone, and Vittel.
He abandoned the Art Deco inspiration and realistic portraiture of his early works in favour of
a more modern approach featuring stylized and funny characters painted in bold primary colors.
Cartouches Rey, 1967
In the same year Morvan created the first in a series of lovely posters
featuring children for the campaign Jeunesse au plein air.
Morvan was a prolific artist who worked until the end of his life,
and his poster production totals over 500 pieces, including a series
of lion-themed ads for the Lyon International fair.