"Pret A Porter Feminin", 1981
Our Artist Of The Week: Razzia
Ask any person on the street from which era the poster art of Gérard Courbouleix–Dénériaz, or Razzia dates, and they would surely think back to the golden age of 1930s Art Deco poster art, prior to the days of any TVs or computers as we know them today.
You might have seen a Razzia poster, perhaps in a foreign language magazine or simply being sold in a commercial gallery, and been transfixed by a classy aesthetic that seems untouched by all of the technological and cultural developments that have swept through the art and commercial design worlds since World War II.
It turns out to be more literally the case than you might think, with Razzia very much eschewing today's computer graphics in favour of conceiving his posters from an original painting. We may be living in a world seemingly obsessed with all things 'retro', whether or not their means of production are any actual kind of throwback, but few artists seem to embrace the methods of past times with quite the same authenticity as Razzia.
Indeed, Razzia's distinctive approach - also including close direct work with his clients to ensure the utmost creative control over his art - certainly seems to make the difference, evoking all of the past poster-making masters like Cassandre, Leonetto Cappiello and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
The story of the man who became Razzia began with the birth of Courbouleix–Dénériaz in Montparnasse at the onset of the 1950s. He did not start out as a poster artist - instead rubbing shoulders with the likes of Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin in his original professional capacity as a music photographer.
In 1979, however, when he undertook a photo shoot for choreographer Carolyn Carlson, he also found himself producing his first graphic, and so began one of the most legendary poster art careers in recent decades, as he captured the attention of fashion gurus during subsequent years spent frequenting the Parisian club 'Palace'.
It was in publications across the Atlantic that Razzia's stunning visuals were first exposed to a wider population, and it was not long before he was creating memorable advertising campaigns for such prestigious clients as Bloomingdales, Harrod's, Lancia Automobiles, Macy's and - particularly notably - Louis Vuitton, with which he has been associated for more than 25 years.
With his evocative painted renderings having also won the affection of such celebrity collectors as Elton John, Michael Caine and Jackie Collins, Razzia has firmly booked his place in history as one of the last in the line of truly great poster artists in the post-war tradition of Bernard Villemot, René Gruau and Raymond Savignac.
Long may he continue to add to that tradition to the delight of all admirers of truly great, timeless poster art.