Cassandre (Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron), the Ukrainian-French artist who created the iconic and widely reproduced poster of French Line’s Normandie, was born on 24 January 1901 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
A friend of Balthus and De Chirico, whose art he deeply admired, Cassandre reconciled the ideas of such contemporary avant-garde movements as Cubism, Surrealism and Neue Sachlichkeit, with the demands of commercial art.
Cassandre used stencils and an airbrush to create his stylized image of Normandie bearing down on its viewer. The Art Deco work, which actually shows a highly restricted and non-detailed view of the liner, is considered by many to be the greatest ocean liner poster of all time. Many would argue that it is the greatest work of art ever created with an ocean liner as its central subject. It is simultaneously beautiful, evocative, stylish and, when viewed head-on at full size, more than a little bit scary.
Cassandre said, “Designing a poster means solving a technical and commercial problem …. in a language that can be understood by the common man.” He was the first graphic artist to simplify his designs so that they could be read from rapidly moving vehicles
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