Le spectacle est dans la rue
Year:
1935
Author:
Blaise Cendrars
1887 to 1961
Artist:
A.M. Cassandre
1901 to 1968

The name Cassandre is forever connected to oversized posters with steamships and trains rushing towards the horizon. The name is a pseudonym used by Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron, who did many other things besides designing these colourful posters. He designed stage sets (for the theatre and the opera, often in a baroque type of Surrealism) as well as typefaces. The posters, however, did have a much wider influence and have now become collectors' items.

Titel page with verso
Titel page with verso

Titel page with verso

First text page with verso
First text page with verso

First text page with verso

Poster Angleterre by Cassandre with text by Blaise Cendrars
Poster 'Angleterre' by Cassandre with text by Blaise Cendrars

Poster 'Angleterre' by Cassandre with text by Blaise Cendrars

Poster by Cassandre for Dubonnet with text by Blaise Cendrars
Poster by Cassandre for Dubonnet with text by Blaise Cendrars

Poster by Cassandre for Dubonnet with text by Blaise Cendrars

Poster by Cassandre for Nicolas with text by Blaise Cendrars
Poster by Cassandre for Nicolas with text by Blaise Cendrars

Poster by Cassandre for Nicolas with text by Blaise Cendrars

Poster by Cassandre for Au Bûcheron with text by Blaise Cendrars
Poster by Cassandre for 'Au Bûcheron' with text by Blaise Cendrars

Poster by Cassandre for 'Au Bûcheron' with text by Blaise Cendrars

Art deco

Cassandre designed the typefaces for the Parisian firm Deberny and Peignot (18 rue Ferrus), a type foundry managed by Charles Peignot (1897-1983). He was the instigator of Arts et métiers graphiques, the influential magazine about graphical arts, typography and book design that was published from September 1927 until May 1939. His company not only commissioned many new typefaces, but also the production of machines and furniture for typesetters and printers. During the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in 1925, Peignot first met Cassandre, one of the main representatives of Art Deco. At the exhibition, Cassandre won the Grand Prix de l'Affiche for his furniture advertising poster 'Au Bûcheron'. Its handsome, hand-drawn lettering particularly impressed Peignot.

Cassandre – born in Charkov (Ukraine) and residing in Paris from 1915 – became a member of the Union des Artistes Modernes (UNAM), alongside Jean Cocteau, André Gide, Le Corbusier, Sonia Delaunay and Maximilien Vox. This was a modernist group, seeking out innovation after World War I. The Bifur letter (1929), which Cassandre designed for Peignot, suits this group perfectly. The letters for this typeface were divided into small geometric units that at first sight made the letters unreadable, but which worked well visually in advertising and on posters. The design was criticized by typographers, subsequently became fashionable, but failed to become a financial success. Cassandre designed the Acier ('Steel') (1936) for the UNAM. The Peignot (1937) finally was of course a tribute to the type founder himself.

Advertising posters

Cassandre received offers from all over, including several from Dubonnet (these posters can still be found in remote French cafes) and from travel agencies, for instance for holiday trips to England or Greece. A number of those posters were produced by the printer Draeger frères in Montrouge in 1935 in order to bring out the printer's skills more clearly. This printing business, owned by Georges and Maurice Draeger, specialised in photography, photogravure and heliogravure for use in books and magazines (they also printed the magazine Arts et métiers graphiques). For this edition, a modern binding was used: the plastic binding ('reliure plastic'). The texts for this edition, Le spectacle est dans la rue, were written by Blaise Cendrars, who praised Cassandre for his passion and for the way in which he 'discovered the blossoming of contemporary life in advertising'. Because of the ubiquity of his posters, he called Cassandre 'the first director of the street's image'.

Bibliographical description

Description: Le spectacle est dans la rue / [Affiches de A.M. Cassandre ; texte de Blaise Cendrars]. - Montrouge : Draeger Frères, 1935. - [38] p. : ill. ; 31 cm
Printer: Draeger frères (Montrouge) (Seine)
Note: Plastic spiral binding
Bibliography: Bénézit 3-328
Shelf-mark: Koopm K 407

References

  • Paul van Capelleveen, Sophie Ham, Jordy Joubij, Voices and visions. The Koopman Collection and the Art of the French Book. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands; Zwolle, Waanders, 2009
  • Peter van Dam, Philip van Praag, A.M. Cassandre en zijn Nederlandse opdrachtgevers 1927-1931: Catalogue raisonné. Abcoude, Uitgeverij Uniepers, 1999
  • Henri Mouron, Cassandre. London, Thames and Hudson, 1985
  • Maximilien Vox, A.M. Cassandre, peintre d'affiches. St-Gall, Zollikofer, 1948
  • N.R.A. Vroom, A.M. Cassandre. Amsterdam, Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten, 1967