Wall advertisements from the golden age of French advertising preserved

Industrial innovation, economic prosperity of The good times and growing consumption contributed to a flourishing partnership between art and advertising in France.

It’s a collaboration that has inspired advertisers and businesses to use plain gable walls – the perfect ‘canvas’ to showcase their brands to potential customers using vibrant artwork and clever slogans. . Today, what remains of these phantom signs (wall advertising Where advertising wall in French) are recognized as works of art and preserved for future generations.

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As train travel became more accessible in the 19th century, covering an otherwise bare wall with an advertisement was genius. The targets were not just passers-by on the street, but people who now traveled longer distances by train, looking out of their windows as they traveled through cities.

Other forms of claim, or advertising, were expensive and less durable. High on a wall, there was comfort in knowing that it would be sturdy and certainly big enough for people to see and read.

Wall advertising quickly becomes a victim of its own success

However, the wall advertising quickly became a victim of its own success when an advertising tax increase around the 1870s put an end to this flourishing marketing channel.

When the poster movement took off, giving artists freedom of expression and design, advertising art once again flourished.

Jules Chéret (1836-1932), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) and Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) are thrust into the limelight.

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During the 1920s, the wall advertising experienced a revival. Throughout France, popular brands such as Dubonnet, Poulain, Byrrh, Kervoline and Lefèvre-Utile, which usually worked with the famous poster artist Firmin Bouisset (1859-1925), used murals to reach their audience.

The physical task of painting the ad on the wall was the responsibility of a pinion maker – after the gables, the gablesthey worked.

Denis Breysse, author of the article The Golden Age of Gablemakerss and retired professor of civil engineering at the University of Bordeaux, said: “I think they worked mainly from a small-scale model, using the grid method reproduced on the wall (and enlarged ).

“The pinion makers were more professional in painting the letters. This did not prevent the links with the graphic arts, but the designer of the graphic design (the poster artist or the painter) is not the one who painted the wall.

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Advertising innovations jostled to attract the attention of consumers

Soon another step in the evolution of advertising began as billboards, neon and illuminated signs, and television advertisements jostled for the attention of consumers.

However, the practice of hand-painted panels survived well into the 1960s. Today, much of the original artwork on the walls has faded or disappeared. Some have been victims of bad weather – rain and wind can wreak havoc over the years.

Other painted walls have been damaged during conflicts or have fallen victim to urban redevelopment.

Added to their fragility is the fact that at the height of the wall advertising trend, a wall can be stripped and reused several times.

Restoration efforts consider both the structural integrity of the mural and the painting itself, Breysse said,

“Sometimes it is necessary to restore the substrate, where the masonry or plasterwork needs to be repaired. It is a classic work of mason, the work itself having no heritage value.

“For the painting, it is a question of being faithful to the original colors. There is no rule or standard, but my opinion is that it is important to avoid doing too much ‘new’.

“When it comes to time and cost, an important factor is accessibility (the height of the wall and the ease of erecting scaffolding).”

Advertising murals considered to have artistic and heritage value

Many people consider these advertising murals to have artistic and heritage value, important artifacts that celebrate a bygone era and provide insight into the social economy and history.

In 2012, a wall in the rue des Martyrs in Paris was included in the inventory of Historical monuments after the discovery of two advertisements, one for Bénédictine and the other for Ripolin.

Dating from 1908, the advertisements have been identified as being painted by the pinion makers Defoly (unknown) and Eugène Charles Paul Vavasseur (1863-1949).

In some cases, residents may involve the Departmental units for architecture and heritage (Udap), a team under the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs (Drac), specializing in architecture and heritage and offering expertise in urban conservation.

The Conservatory of outdoor and road advertisements (Conper) is another organization that aims to identify and preserve the history wall advertisements.

In Trizac, a town in Cantal, a faded mural on the gable of a house is currently undergoing restoration work.

Its blue background has deteriorated but the lettering, although a little damaged, is still legible: “Dubo, Dubon, Dubonnet, cinchona tonic wine.”

“It’s an advertisement from the 1930s that has marked the identity of our village ever since…”

Lionel Trazit, member of the Trizac Heritage Association (ATP), whose objective is to restore the heritage of the territory, declares: “This is an advertisement from the 1930s which has marked the identity of our village ever since. It is characteristic of the wall advertisements which could be found everywhere in France, but which have for the most part disappeared.

Cassandre, pseudonym of Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron (1901-1968), was at the origin of the famous Dubonnet drawings, but the ATP is still awaiting confirmation from the artist, who could have been the painter and decorator Giuseppe Tribus ( 1901-1960).

“The work will consist of repairing the unstable coatings and renovating this advertisement, while preserving its old appearance,” explained Mr. Trazit, a history buff since his youth. He set up as an antiques dealer in 1998 after studying at the Ecole du Louvre.

“After my election to municipal CouncilI wanted to create a group with other members of the municipality dedicated to local heritage.

The ATP was founded in 2014 and has around 50 members. Its work is supported by seven to eight volunteers.

“Our first objective was to financially lighten the burden of renovating the communal heritage of our village, which was then in great financial difficulty. It has been hard hit by rural desertification.

The ATP is still collecting estimates for the restoration of the fresco, which could cost between €5,500 and €6,000.

Funds for the projects are raised through membership dues, donations, and government grants, but primarily through the association’s own efforts with concerts, raffles, and publicity.

“Our approach is to preserve as much as possible past life and its habits and customs.

“After asking the opinion of the inhabitants, we realized that many in the village were attached to this advertising wallMr. Trazit said.

“So we mobilized to try to restore it. The cost will be high but hope we can save it.

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