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Cassandre was a major figure in French graphic design, known for his energetic approach to typography and his experiments on legibility in his work. Born with two innate tendencies, a need for formal perfection and a burning thirst for lyrical expression, he found it difficult to reconcile the two.
His goal was to renew himself constantly, and he believed that each poster was a new battle to win. His artisan's work expresses the joy of its accomplishment, while the lyrical work of a contemporary artist aware of his own tragic destiny necessarily contains his pain, anguish, and despair. Despite the contradictions, Cassandre left a lasting imprint in the history of graphic design.
Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron, known as A. M. Cassandre, was a pioneering graphic designer born in Kharkov, Ukraine, on January 24, 1901. He grew up moving between Russia and France, finally settling in Paris with his family in 1915 where he completed his schooling. Cassandre attended the École des Beaux-Arts briefly before enrolling in Lucien Simon's independent studio and later the Académie Julian.
Cassandre began designing posters in 1921 and moved to his first studio in Paris in 1922. He decided to sign his advertising designs with the pseudonym Cassandre, which was sometimes combined with his name, Mouron. In 1923, Cassandre completed the first work characterized by his synthetic style, “Au Bucheron”, which brought instant fame to its designer after it was reproduced in a very large format throughout Paris.
Cassandre, Au Bucheron, 1923.
Cassandre, Au Bucheron, 1923.
Cassandre married his first wife, Madeleine Cauvet, in 1924 and commissioned Auguste Perret to design a house for him in Versailles where he settled after its completion in 1925. That same year, Cassandre signed an exclusive contract with Hachard and Cie, the firm which was to publish his posters up to 1927.
Between 1930 and 1935, Cassandre was the art director at Alliance Graphique where a large number of his posters were published along with designs by other artists. He also began working on a contractual basis for the firm of Nicolas and was responsible for the layout of that company's many commercial and prestige publications. After a retrospective exhibition of his posters at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in January 1936, Cassandre signed a contract with Harper's Bazaar for the magazine's covers and spent the winters of 1936-37 and 1937-38 in New-York.
Cassandre resumed his activities as a graphic artist after the war and in 1950, a major retrospective exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs revealed to the public Cassandre’s richly diverse work in the graphic and plastic arts over the previous twenty-five years. He divorced his second wife in 1954 and rounded off his theatrical œuvre by designing the settings and costumes for Racine’s Tragédies at the Comédie Française in 1959. Cassandre retired to the country in 1960 and returned to Paris in 1965. Cassandre’s final years were distinguished by the creation of his last typeface, Cassandre, which was to remain unpublished until 60 years after his death. Cassandre took his life in his apartment on the Avenue René-Coty in Paris on June 17, 1968.
Fonts by Cassandre

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