Rene Gruau - Born Italy (1909 - 2004)
With his stunning, passionate figures, his arresting use of color and dramatic, explosive economy of line, Gruau developed a distinctive “New Look” which greatly impacted haute couture, theatre, art and commercial design beginning in the 1940’s. His trademark use of powerful minimal line combined seductive sophistication with classic beauty, grace and sensual elegance. The quality of his visual appeal portraying the glamorous and radiant “beautiful people” is at once bold and languid - internationally acknowledged as exceptional, masterful, timelessly enduring.
In the 1940‘s and 50‘s Gruau became a favorite of the haute couture world, working with Femina, Marie-Claire, L'Officiel, L'Album Du Figaro and other “high-style” magazines. Some of Gruau’s best work can be seen in the dramatic visual statements he rendered for Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Hubert de Givenchy. But Gruau’s greatest collaboration was to be with Christian Dior, with whom he remained as illustrator and sometimes co-designer from Dior’s very beginnings in 1947 right through the 1960’s.
Concurrent with his Dior years, Gruau established himself in the United States, working for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, eventually becoming the exclusive artist for FLAIR. He also produced stunningly beautiful advertisements for the LIDO, MOULIN ROUGE and BEMBERG. Almost right up until his death at the age of 95, Gruau continued to work for the greatest names in Haute Couture: Balmain, Fath, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Rochas while also producing fashion drawings for ELLE, Vogue France, Madame Figaro and L'Officiel de la Couture. In the late 1980’s/early 1990’s he published many of his original designs as limited edition, signed and numbered lithographs through the Circle Gallery in New York.
Today Gruau’s works are collected and exhibited by the finest art institutions including the Louvre in Paris. Rene Gruau’s artistic passion, intensity and technical brilliance have left a notable high water-mark on art history.