1. Pierre Brissaud (1885 – 1964)

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    Pierre Brissaud was a French illustrator, painter, and a prominent figure of French Art Deco. He created illustrations for publications Les Feuillets d’Art, La Gazette du Bon Ton, Fortune, House & Garden, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. He also illustrated books by renown authors Gustave Flaubert, Eugène Fromentin, and Honoré de Balzac, among others.

    Born in 1885 in Paris, France to a family of artists. His brother, Jacques Brissaud, and uncle, Maurice Boutet de Monvel were both painters. His first cousin, Bernard Boutet de Monvel, is regarded as one of the finest illustrators of the Art Deco era. Pierre Brissaud and his brother were artistic companions. Their uncle, Boutet de Monvel, taught them art.

    Thanks to the guidance of his Uncle, Brissaud was accepted into the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. There, under the tutelage of Fernand Cormon, he was free to develop and explore new styles and techniques. Some of his fellow students were his brother Jacques, André-Édouard Marty, Charles Martin, and Georges Lepape. All of whom who would become key in the growth of French Art Deco.

    Having seen his brother, uncle and cousin have varying degrees of success, it was not until 1907 Brissaud would have some of his own. He was invited to exhibit his stencil prints and watercolor paintings at the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d’Automne. The exposure from the exhibit gave his career the impetus it needed. Works from magazines started to come in more frequently.

    His career was boosted further after meeting Fashion editor, Lucien Vogel. He was responsible for getting Brissaud’s work in the magazine, La Gazette de la Mode et du Bon Ton. Consequently, various fashion houses commissioned Brissaud. His works for magazines and fashion houses cemented Brissaud reputation.

    During the 1920’s, when Art Deco was at its peak, Brissaud became focused on pochoir (stencil prints). Brissaud was a stencil specialist for various fashion magazines. He produced prints for fashion houses, book illustrations, magazine covers and advertising.

    Brissaud’s vibrant prints often focused on the well-to-do. Glamorous settings basking in sunlight gave the public a window into Parisian culture reserved only for the affluent. His illustrations were given more depth by painting the cast shadow in a blue/purple layer. I am not sure if I have fallen in love with an illustrator’s work so quickly. The infectious and joyous nature of his characters, use of thin black lines, wonderful details, and vivid colours all come together to form scenes of idyllic charm.

    To find out more about Pierre Brissaud, go to Bestarts. To see more of his work, check out Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Condé Nast Collection.