Designer Desire: Bernard Buffet

Mosaic of Bernard Buffet artwork | H is for Home

We’ve highlighted Bernard Buffet before on our blog. We have a few of his lovely prints dotted around our house.

Buffet (1928-1999) was hugely successful and extremely prolific – producing over 8,000 paintings in his lifetime. He was described by one biographer as “The modern Mega-Artist”. As part of his exclusive contract with Galerie Drouant-David, the artist staged a major solo exhibition every year. Suffice to say, there are an awful lot of prints and lithographs on the market; check out eBay and Etsy in the first instance. If you have a spare few tens of thousands of pounds, there are also originals to be had on auction sites such as Christies.

Buffet developed Parkinson’s in later years which prevented him from working. The disease was cited as the reason he committed suicide at his home in Tourtour, Provence.

If you’d like further insight into the artist, there’s an extensive essay online about him by The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) who have 3 of his works in their collection. There are numerous books and exhibition catalogues available as well.

Portrait of Bernard Buffet with his wife & muse, Annabelcredit

Additional image credits:

Pinterest

Designer Desire: Lefor Openo

Lefor Openo artwork mosaic | H is for Home

Welcome to our new blog series, ‘Designer Desire’, where we’ll feature one designer per week whose work we love. We’re kicking off with Lefor Openo who we’ve mentioned once or twice before.

Lefor Openo comprised of two French women, Marie-Claire Lefort and Marie-Francine Oppeneau. They met while studying at Lycée Claude-Bernard Paris, and collaborated from 1955 to 1967. They were primarily poster artists; their designs were used extensively by Loterie Nationale (the national lottery of France). They designed posters for Charles de Gaulle – for the 1958 constitutional referendum and again for his 1965 presidential election campaign. They also produced advertising artwork for other organisations and brands such as Electricité de France, Kodak, Singer Sewing Machines. They designed a poster for the 1959 film Babette s’en va-t-en guerre, (Babette goes to War) starring Brigitte Bardot. Apparently, she is the one upon whom they based most of their ‘models’.

As well as posters, very occasionally you’ll come across postcards and tea towels bearing their designs on Etsy and eBay. We’ve also seen evidence of a doll and a couple of pin dishes from the era and we have a tin in our shop which we believe to be one of their designs – we’ve never seen another!

Marie-Claire Lefort died in 1971 and Marie-Francine Oppeneau is now 81 years old. Once upon a time, there was a basic website with information and images of some of their designs but it seems to have been allowed to expire. If you know (or want to find out) anything more about them and their designs, please leave a comment below.

Marie-Claire Lefort & Marie-Francine Oppeneau of Lefor Openo

Valentine enamel sign

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Vintage enamel sign, 'Valentine la belle peinture'

This is our favourite item of the week.

Vintage Valentine enamel sign

We don’t think we’ve nominated an enamel sign previously.

Detail of vintage Valentine enamel sign

It’s a vintage French sign advertising Valentine paints. We like the colours and absolutely love the graphic design.

Vintage Valentine enamel sign in our sitting room with other vintage industrial homewares

We put it in a vintage industrial corner of the lounge to photograph it – oh no, it looks quite good!

World Dolls Series: France

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front cover of the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

Bonjour! We’ve hopped across the channel to France in our World Dolls Series tour.

front inside cover of the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

Illustrations for this edition are by Janet Meeson from the Birmingham School of Design.

French dolls Marie and Pierre from the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

Are guides for this trip are Marie & Pierre – resplendent in their traditional costumes.

French dolls Marie and Pierre from the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

A bit of gentle sun on our faces – we’re all relaxed and mellow – so the large shillelagh stick to keep order on the coach that Patrick had in Ireland has been dispensed with!

illustration of town-houses from the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

Marie & Pierre have joined us from their toy shop window in Paris.

illustration of a tree-lined avenue from the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

All the classic Parisienne sights. Wide, tree-lined avenues…

illustration of a pavement café from the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

…colourful cafés, classic architecture, beautiful bridges, the River Seine….

illustration of a steamboat from the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

…and of course – the Eiffel Tower.

illustration of town-houses from the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

We then head into the idyllic countryside to take a look at the vineyards & orchards.

illustration of a castle in the hills from the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

Then onto the coast for a spot of sunbathing – where we can all get very brown! 🙂

illustration of people sunbathing on a beach and sitting under umbrellas from the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

And finally we take in a festival – the Blessing of the Boats.

illustration of the festival of the Blessing of the Boats from the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

We just love the illustration below.

illustration of priests standing on the harbour and fishermen in boats from the France edition in the World Dolls Series of children's books

Join us next time when we’re in Germany.

Vacances Français

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selection of vintage travel maps of areas of France

We bought some vintage metal filing drawers at auction last month – these lovely vintage travel maps were stored inside.

vintage travel map of the Basque area of France vintage travel map of the Jura area of France
vintage travel map of the Est area of France vintage travel map of the Languedoc area of France

The covers immediately caught our eye, with illustrations by French artist Jean Colin. Born in 1912, he’s best known for his  advertising posters from the mid 20th century. In addition to Shell, he did artwork for many prominent companies such as Cinzano, Air France, Kiwi Shoe Polish, Marchal and Perrier  – and won many awards for his designs.

detail of a vintage travel map of an area of France illustrated with a stork

These Shell guides for various regions of France date from the 1950s/60s.

detail of a vintage travel map showing the area of Montpellier

The maps inside are very attractive too – colourful & detailed, but clear to read.

detail of a vintage travel map of an area of France illustrated with figures of a man and woman

We’d spied them inside the drawers, but a nice little bonus all the same!

Lefor Openo

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vintage biscuit tin with illustration by Lefor-Openo of a flower seller girl with her market stall | H is for Home

We picked up this rather lovely biscuit tin this week. It dates from the 1960s and is on just the right side of kitsch for us.

detail from a vintage biscuit tin with illustration by Lefor-Openo of a flower seller girl with her market stall

The tin was produced in England, but features a very cute, Continental flower girl – she must be in Britain though, she’s selling her wares at 2 shillings & sixpence a bunch!

We’ve long admired the work of Lefor Openo – the French design duo of Marie-Claire Lefort & Marie-Francine Oppeneau. They’re mainly known for their poster designs – lots of them featuring beautiful mademoiselles – and this girl is definitely one of theirs! One of their most famous illustrations must be the sultry Francia, a Gitanes “fumeureuse”.

vintage Gitanes advertising poster designed by Lefor Openophoto credit: Lamarde

There are always Lefor Openo posters, postcards and other illustrations available to purchase on eBay – and at very affordable prices too!