Rod Stewart sang:
Paris was a place you could hide away
if you felt you didn’t fit in
French police wouldn’t give me no peace
They claimed I was a nasty person
Down along the Left Bank minding my own
Was knocked down by a human stampede
Got arrested for inciting a peaceful riot
when all I wanted was a cup of tea
I was accused
I moved on
(Every Picture Tells A Story lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.)
Paris is also a place that tells many pictorial stories. Visit the landmark bookinistes, the old and used booksellers parked on the left and right banks of the Seine, and you’ll find stories galore in each and every piece they have for sale. Here are a few I found:
This brilliant advertising blotter for a store specializing in children’s clothes was produced in the 1930s when teenagers wore miniaturized adult garb. This card reveals the energy (and the typographic wit) it took to appeal to the clientele.
She dances the rites of Spring. Or is it Fall? Whatever, the montage of lighter than air gestures is typical of the fare in Paris magazines.
One of the most important French weeklies was VU (see or saw), but J’ai Vu (I saw) came first with its photomontages that cleverly juxtaposed celebrities and world leaders (here Roosevelt and Wilson the two great warring progressives in 1916 American electoral politics).
Entertainment was as essential to France as it was to America. And American entertainment – in this case recordings – were marketed to the adoring French public. And don’t you love the type?
Paris, like New York, is a city of many people and many peoples’ wonderful graphic delights. Here an Indian tin sign for milling machines has a French look for added eye catching appeal.
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