No field of artistic endeavour ignores the subject: books, curios, popular art, paintings, sculpture and jewellery……… there are 50 shades of erotica to discover amongst the many exhibitors.
For adults only !
At the heart of the fair, a stand pays tribute to ASLAN, gifted illustrator and Pope of the pin-up world, whose work featured every month in the men’s magazine LUI from 1963 to 1981. A multi-talented artist, ASLAN was appointed the French army’s official painter and sculptor in 1952. After the heroic came the erotic ! He immortalised Brigitte Bardot as the bust of Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic which presides over every town hall in the country. He also sculpted a bust of General de Gaulle and a statue of the popular 1960s singer Dalida that graces her tomb in the graveyard of Montmartre. But it’s above all his pin-ups, done in the two decades from 1963 to 1981, that remain fixed in the collective memory of the time. The past is another country, at least for the under-20s…
Hommage to ASLAN
ASLAN, Cover, LUI Magazine N° 119, Gouache, December 1973
Alain Gourdon, aka ASLAN, was born among the hills of the Bordeaux region in 1930, and died in 2014 in Canada, where he’d lived since 1995.
At a very young age he showed a unique artistic talent, making his first artwork from reclaimed materials when he was only 11. At 14 he entered the Bordeaux school of fine art, and from there went on to art school in Paris.
A protégé of the painter Jean-Gabriel Domergue and a friend of the neo-realist radical sculptor César, Aslan started his career as a sculptor, receiving a series of official commissions including a bust of the World War II hero and Indochina War commander Marshal de Lattre de Tassigny which earned him in 1952 the title of official French Army painter and sculptor, aged just 22.
And ASLAN created the pin-up
Pin-ups entered everyday language in the USA in the 1940s, when GI’s stuck magazine pictures of scantily-clad beauties on their barrack-room walls or the cockpits of their planes. But it was ASLAN who introduced them to an entire generation, starting in 1953 with his sexy posters for car makers like Fiat, Peugeot and Renault.
A brilliant illustrator, he was equally at home drawing Pinocchio for the Bibliothèque Rose children’s books or pictures for Perrault’s fairy tales as he was giving his unbridled imagination full rein in the service of the Crazy Horse Saloon, the Folies Bergère, or the Olympia music hall.
His dream creatures haunted the nights of Lui Magazine’s readers from 1963 to 1981, decorating guardrooms and truckers’ cabs or, more surreptitiously, the private desk drawers of white-collar office workers, linking his admirers together in a brotherhood no less real for being discreet.
His technique is mindblowing. Entirely worked in gouache, each hair is painted, the skin looks so real you want to stroke it. In short, mission accomplished; pretty soon his pin-ups were pinned up everywhere.
ASLAN Gouache de Brigitte Bardot en Marianne,
réalisée au moment de la création du buste – 1970
© CDE4, Aslan, Paris 2014.
In 1968 Aslan took on a new challenge, creating a bust of Brigitte Bardot as Marianne, incarnation of the Republican spirit. Commissioned by the Louvre Museum and produced in an edition of more than 20,000 copies, it went to decorate the town and village halls of France, giving birth to a new tradition of celebrity Mariannes.
Just three original versions of the bust were made in bronze: one can be seen in the town hall of Levallois, in the western Paris suburbs; a second went to a private collection while Aslan kept the third for himself.
Returning to his early work as an official sculptor, he crafted a bust of General de Gaulle in 1971 and a bust of de Gaulle’s successor as President, Georges Pompidou, in 1989.
In 1978 Aslan sculpted a second Marianne, this time in the image of the singer Mireille Matthieu. In 1986 he made a bust of the actor Alain Delon. In 1987 he paid double hommage to the singer Dalida in the form of a stone sculpture that presides over her tomb, and a bronze bust for the square that bears her name, in Montmartre.
A brilliant artist with the ability to switch at will between the worlds of celebrity glamour and official public art, Aslan the illustrator has left his mark as a master of the sharp but delicate line.