“It is the taste of the gag that made me analyse the art of Chaplin. After that he has never left me. My goal was to put some slapstick in my posters.”
Born in 1907, Savignac grew up around his parent’s working class café. He trained as a draftsman, but the frustration of detailing and colouring bus maps led to his discovery of his talent as a caricature artist, and it was in his parent’s café where he honed his sketches of “everyman” that he would later become famous for.
In his twenties, he worked in an animation studio for the cinema, but in 1933 he approached Cassandre, the artistic director of ‘l’Alliance Graphique’ with some of his art to ascertain his chances as a graphic artist. This proved positive and he worked with Cassandre until 1938.
The early war years were a fallow time for Savignac, but in 1942 his artwork was spotted by advertising agent Robert Guérin (of l’Oreal and Monsavon). This led to advertising work, which blossomed in the years of post-war optimism.
In France, a style of light-hearted playfulness emerged, to which Savigac’s style was suited beautifully. He used a combination of a simple pun or gag with his friendly depiction of the common man to create images which were funny, endearing and memorable.
Despite moving into more photographic works in his later life, it is his caricatures for which he is most remembered and loved. He died in 2002 at the age of 94, his graphic career lasting for over 50 years and producing more than 600 posters.