Monday, May 19, 2008
JADE: Jean Carlu
Born in Bonnières, France, Jean Carlu came from a family of architects and studied to enter that profession. After an accident at the age of eighteen in which he lost his right arm, Carlu turned to graphic design. His early work reveals a fascination with the angular forms and spatial nuances of Cubism.
As Carlu's work changed over the next two decades, it continued to show examples of geometric shapes of Cubism, but this was manifested in very diverse ways. Carlu sought to make a figurative language in which color, line, and content would show emotional values. His work achieved a distinctive, streamlined economy of form, hardly ever incorporating narrative or illustrative elements.
Carlu spent the years of World War II in the United States, where he executed a number of important poster designs for the government's war effort. Characterized by the same scientific precision of form as his other work, these designs were well suited to the promotion of industrial efficiency. Both American and international design traditions continue to reflect his influence.
Unable to return to Paris he stayed in America where he designed some of his best posters for the Allied war effort. His most celebrated poster being the "America's Answer! Production" poster for which he was recognized with the top award with the New York Director's Club Exhibition.
Returning to France in 1953 he became a consultant to various clients including Air France, Larousse and Firestone France before retiring in 1974.