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Metro, Villiers station
VUILLARD Édouard (1868 - 1940)
In the metro by simple hygiene
BRIDGE Joe (1886 - 1967)
Title: Metro, Villiers station
Author : VUILLARD Édouard (1868 - 1940)
Creation date : 1916
Dimensions: Height 88 cm - Width 219 cm
Technique and other indications: mounted glue paint
Storage location: Orsay Museum website
Contact copyright: RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski Link to image
Picture reference: 10-521132
Metro, Villiers station
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
Title: In the metro by simple hygiene
Author : BRIDGE Joe (1886 - 1967)
Creation date : Around 1930
Dimensions: Height 119 cm - Width 78 cm
Technique and other indications: chromolithography
Storage location: MuCEM website
Contact copyright: All rights reserved - Photo MuCEM, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / MuCEM image Link to image
Picture reference: 20-504001 / INV 999.27
In the metro by simple hygiene
© All rights reserved - Photo MuCEM, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / MuCEM image
Publication date: February 2020
The metro, emblem of Paris
From the start, the Paris metropolitan has inspired artists as diverse as the Nabi Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940), who painted the interior of a station, or the press cartoonist Joe Bridge (1886-1967) who located a famous advertising scene in a crowded wagon. Between the opening of the first line connecting the Porte de Vincennes to the Porte Maillot in July 1900, and 1921, the network has grown: the 10 lines cover many Parisian districts and we are preparing to extend them to the inner suburbs. . Admittedly, he had already designed the interior of a wagon in 1908, but he was not very interested in urban transformations and in society: it has been more than a decade that he no longer produces decorative panels for mansions. or no longer illustrates programs for theaters.
Jean-Louis-Charles-Joseph Barrez, known as Joe Bridge, did not study Fine Arts like his elder brother. But like him, he refuses the path mapped out by his family (for Vuillard, the army; for Barrez, business) and, on the strength of his cultural background acquired at Lycée Stanislas, he launches into the music hall after his baccalaureate. Even the war did not interrupt this vocation: wounded at the front and detained in the same camp as his friend Maurice Chevalier, he set up a cabaret with him, while serving in the infirmary. This is the hallmark of his first advertising achievements, even before the creation of his agency in 1922.
Journey to the center of Paris
Large format canvas Metro, Villiers station was probably made by Vuillard in his studio from sketches. Its very elongated horizontal format allows you to embrace at once the two platforms, the tracks which separate them (Parisian particularity), the vault, the tunnel and the staircase which allows the connection. The painter stood at the head of the platform to observe the dense and indistinct crowd waiting for the next train. On the quay opposite, billboards punctuate the space lengthwise and occupy the entire height. The dark tone combining the black pencil, the dark panels and the brown tones of the coats brings out the luminous elements of the bulbs above the docks and especially the violently lit downward opening. The white earthenware tiles that traditionally dress the walls and metal rails reflect these shards in yellow and green tones. While the Impressionists who liked to paint outdoors played with diffracted sunlight, Vuillard experimented underground with effects obtained with artificial electric light.
The advertising poster In the subway was created by Joe Bridge in association with other media that feature the imaginary character Ugène, the personification of the popular Parisian. The slogan is distributed between the top and the bottom of the poster, both to facilitate reading, to bring out the rich rhyme (hygiene, Ugene, odorigen) and to compose a rhythm easy to remember. The signature at the bottom left serves as much to identify the author as to disseminate this pseudonym to make it a brand. The design is apparently simple. First of all, Bridge shifted the perspective to give it depth and increase the number of headgear: cap, soft hat, kepi, cap, bowler, bibi, top hat even, testify to the democratic character of this fashion. transport where workers and bourgeois, depraved refractories and law enforcement officers, men, women and children rub shoulders. The foreground delivers two scenes to the public: on the left, the confrontation between a teenager with a shadowy gaze and a policeman caught up in his severity; on the right, the hero Ugène observed by three unlikely travelers: a stunned rupine, a nanny all smiles and a greedy little child. Their three attitudes suggest the reactions Parisians might have when they see this pocket-sized inhaler for the first time.
The metro and advertising
Since 1900, the Parisian metro has been distinguished by a concentration of unique city-wide advertising. The walls of the corridors, the platforms and even the trains welcome advertising: the space is saturated with advertisements, while on the surface, despite the street furniture and the signs of the stores, the facades leave a breath to the passer-by. . It is therefore no coincidence that, in a rather fine way, Joe Bridge chooses this environment for his poster. On the one hand, he places his message on a hygienic level. The metro is a promiscuous place, poorly ventilated because it is underground, as the totally enclosed landscape of Vuillard clearly shows, where the only opening is an artificial light well that takes the traveler even deeper. Inhaling essences or fragrances can mean building up a pleasant odor barrier or having a therapeutic effect - inhalers having been originally designed for acute or chronic respiratory problems. But the character of Ugene, with his too small and patched hat, his raised collar, his shaggy fleece and his uncut mustache, constitutes a real snub to the hygienist standard. In addition, one would have expected a woman of a certain social level: the double shift makes people laugh and contributes to the success of the campaign. It also takes the form of a colored advertising sticker (Ugène est roux) and a popular song composed by Lucien de Gerlor, apparently for a review given to the Boîte à Fursy. Bridge's ties to the music hall therefore allowed for more media, and it may well be that spots where the song was broadcast on the radio at the time. Five years apart, Vuillard and Bridge each testify in their own way that the underground world of the metropolitan is one of the faces of Paris. Its dozens of stations and millions of travelers form both ephemeral social groups united by a fairly uniform decor, and a captive audience for the other great invention of the 19th century.e century: advertising.
- Crazy years
- music hall
Guy Cogeval, Edouard Vuillard, Paris, Meeting of National Museums, 2003.
Roger-Henri Guerrand, The Metropolitan Adventure, Paris, La Découverte, 1999.
Marc Martin, History of advertising in France, University Press of Nanterre, 2012.
To cite this article
Alexandre SUMPF, "A new urban experience"