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Grun's Career in Posters and Illustrations

Like many of the poster artists of the time, Grun sold illustrations to magazines to earn a living. Dwelling as he did in the bohemian quarter of Paris, he frequented local cafes and cabarets, and that led him offering his services for interior decor and stage sets. Grun did multicolored decorations and backdrops for La Scala, le Concert Parisien, le Carillon, le Joyeux-Théâtre, and Decadent's Concert (among others).

Happy with the results, the establishments began to commission him to produce posters for the shows they were staging. Grun "officially" began his poster designing career in 1892. This included works for many of the local Montmartre cabarets, shows, and revues. In addition, he did a number of posters in the product advertising arena.

He gained national notoriety for his work with color posters. Only the most famous Montmartre cabaret singers were shown in his posters. Grun created most of his posters at his Paris studio, located at 31 Boulevard Berthier.

They were printed by Impremerie Chaix, one of the largest printing firms in Paris. Jules Cheret, arguably the most prolific poster artist in history, was Chaix's artistic director. As such, there was a fierce competition between Cheret and Grun for the spotlight.

Au Violon, Poster for Cafe Riche

Posters were where his natural talent asserted itself. He had an uncanny ability to catch the carefree spirit of Paris nightlife: the flirtatious coquettes out for some fun, concupiscent gentlemen in arduous pursuit of them, comical mishaps, and assorted street characters in quest for pleasure. Nearly all the women he showed in his posters are young, pretty and out on the town, well aware of their attractiveness and determined to enjoy it to the fullest. Three of his finer poster pieces were published in the turn of the century Maîtres de l'Affiche series from l'Impremerie Chaix. He also exhibited 10 posters at the now famous 1896 Poster Exhibition at Reims.

Image: Jules Grun, 1899, from "The Poster". The same photo appeared in the Album Mariani around the same time.

With his friends Abel Faivre, Charles Lucien Léandre, Théophile Steinlen, and Adolphe Willette, he took part in decorating the famed Tavern de Paris (Tavern of Paris), as well as the panels in the Casino at Monte Carlo.
Perhaps Grun's most prolific work came as an illustrator. His illustrations appeared in many French periodicals, including La Caricature, La Plume (The Feather), Fin de Siecle (End of the Century), Le Courrier Francais (French Mail), Le Rire (The Laughter), La Sourire (The Smile), and Assiette au Beurre (Plate with Butter, no. 104 on "Their Mouths"). In 1912, he teamed with many of his friends, including Bofa, Brunelleschi, Cappiello, Faivre, and Sem, to publish an Album de Luxe (actually published by the Society of Cartoon Artists or Humoristes).

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