Everybody loves Raymond’s art.
We’ve mentioned artist and fashion designer Raymond Brenot, aka Pierre-Laurent Brenot a couple of times before in relation to the French magazine V. This is the first time we’ve seen his work on a book cover. It’s a copy of Journal d'une chambre de femme by Jean-Albert Foëx, and it was published by E.D.I.C.A. in 1958 as part of their Collection Le Mauvais Oeil, or Evil Eye Collection. Brenot’s cool cover also wraps onto the rear of the book, as you can see below.
Whatever it was called, we love it.
More from France today with V magazine of winter 1965. This particular issue, in the masthead in extremely small print, reveals that V is short for Voilà. Other issues we have do not mention that, so it’s news to us, and probably to many other people as well, especially because we shared an issue a while back that clearly says on the cover “Supplement au No. 445 de Voir Magazine.” So it is Voilà, Voir, or just V? To tell the truth, we wondered in the past if the 1950s V was the same as the earlier magazine that published through the ’40s, but it was. The publisher, editor, and even the street address changed, but we’ve seen an issue from 1949 that shows an unmistakable visual transition between the two versions. If indeed the magazine was ever actually called Voilà, or Voir, the full name never appeared on the cover, as far as we know. Speaking of covers, this one was painted by Raymond Brenot, aka Pierre-Laurent Brenot, who was both an artist and a successful fashion designer, and he joined a special fraternity of brilliant V cover artists such as René Caille, Jean David, and Georges Pichard. The interior illustrations are from Brenot, Pichard, Le Gano, Renoir and others. Plus there are photos of Margaret Lee, Catherine Frank, Mara Berni, Liten Østern, dancer Sonia Vareuil, et.al. Generally, the more a magazine costs us the more pages we scan, just so we can feel like we got our money’s worth. This one was ten euros, so below are more than thirty images for your enjoyment.
, V Magazine
, Raymond Brenot
, Pierre-Laurent Brenot
, Margaret Lee
, Georges Pichard
, Catherine Frank
, Sonia Vareuil
, Mara Berni
, Liten Østern
, Loretta Capitoli
, Le Gano
, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
, Jean David
, René Caille
, magazine art
V employed three of the most talented but least-known pin-up artists of the pulp era.
The French magazine V is probably one of the most visually pleasing and collectible periodicals ever published. The early issues featured photo-illustrations of movie stars, but starting in the 1950s V began to showcase provocative pin-up style cover paintings from a succession of three artists—Georges Pichard, René Caille and Jean David. All were geniuses; none are well known outside collectors circles and France, where they lived and worked. But popularity is never a true measure of value—Pichard, Caille and David Vs can go at auction for thirty, forty, or even fifty dollars. We've seen them listed for even more, though those went unsold as far as we can tell. Vs with Pierre-Laurent Brenot covers are also highly regarded. This one, V Sélections 57, with a Pichard cover and Brigitte Bardot, Christine Carère and Marilyn Monroe inside, dates from winter 1957. We have a couple more of these we’ll share in their entirety as soon as we get in the mood to do the scanning. Meantime see some 1940s V covers here and here.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1954—Communist Party Outlawed
In the U.S., during the height of the Red Scare, President Dwight Eisenhower signs the Communist Control Act into law. The new legislation bans the American Communist Party, and prohibits people deemed to be communists from serving as officials in labor organizations.
1968—France Explodes Nuke
a two-stage nuclear weapon, codenamed Canopus, on Fangataufa, French Polynesia.
1942—Battle of Stalingrad Begins
The Battle of Stalingrad, perhaps the most pivotal event of World War II, begins. It lasts for more than six months, spread across the brutal Russian winter, and ends with two million casualties. The Russian sacrifice reduces the powerful German army to a shell of its former self, and as a result Nazi defeat in the war becomes a simple matter of time.
1979—Alexander Gudonov Defects
Russian ballet dancer and actor Alexander Borisovich Godunov defects to the U.S. The event causes an international diplomatic crisis, but Gudonov manages to win asylum. He joins the famous American Ballet Theater, where he becomes a colleague of fellow-defector Mikhail Baryshnikov, and later earns roles in such Hollywood films as Witness and Die Hard.
1950—Althea Gibson Breaks the Color Barrier
Althea Gibson becomes the first African-American woman to compete on the World Tennis Tour, and the first to earn a Grand Slam title when she wins the French Open in 1956. Later she becomes the first African-American woman to compete in the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
1952—Devil's Island Closed
Devil's Island, the penal colony located off the coast of French Guiana, is permanently closed. The prison is later made world famous by Henri Charrière's bestselling novel Papillon, and the subsequent film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
1962—De Gaulle Survives Assassination Attempt
Jean Bastien-Thiry, a French air weaponry engineer, attempts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle to prevent Algerian independence. Bastien-Thiry and others attack de Gaulle's armored limousine with machine guns, but after expending hundreds of rounds, they succeed only in puncturing two tires.
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