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  • Author: LANDELLE, Willy (artist)
  • Publisher: Editions Jacques-Petit, Anjou, France
  • Date: [1945] 1946
  • Dimensions: sheet: 65 x 49.5 cms


Wonderful French pictorial map of post-war Paris, designed by Anjou artist Willy Landelle for Editions Jacques-Petit [1945/6]

About this piece:


Colour printed lithograph poster on thick paper. Wide margins. Light soiling & paper toning, largely confined to margins. In all a nicely presented example.

A wonderfully evocative portrayal of post-war Paris presented in the form of a colourful & amusing pictorial map of the French capital. Several different versions and editions of this map appear to have been produced in the immediate post-war period, this example having fewer decorative embellishments & figures than another very similar map previously offered for sale. All were published & copyrighted by the Anjou publishers, Editions Jacques Petit, after the designs of the well-known local French poster artist & commercial illustrator, Willy Landelle. This appears to be one of the earliest versions of the map, signed by Landelle and dated ’45 beside the compass spur in the lower right corner. An adjacent imprint reads“Copyright 1946 by Jacques-Petit”.

Willy Landelle was a popular French book illustrator and poster designer.  It is little surprise to find him working closely with Editions Jacques-Petit, a long-established publishing firm located in his native City which survives to the present day. Biographically, little is known about Landelle himself. He was a member of the Guild of Angevin artists founded in 1923 by colleague André Bruel. He married in 1930 and his wide-ranging and long-lasting artistic career straddled the pre- and post-war periods. He was an active contributor to the early post-war Cahiers angevins. He is also known for an attractive pictorial map of France entitled La France Touristique et Gastronomique [1948], also published in Anjou by Editions Jacques Petit.

In this map Landelle depicts all of Paris to its urban limits & beyond, including the suburbs of Clichy, St.Ouen and St.Denis in the North & Issy Les Moulineaux, Montrouge, Gentilly & Ivry in the South and parts of Neuilly, the Bois de Boulogne & St.Cloud in the West & Pantin, Les Lilas & Vincennes in the East.

Capturing the humour, frivolity and joie de vivre that perhaps belies the day-to-day struggles & realities of post-war Parisian life, the city is laid out street by street with the main buildings and sites of importance shown in easily recognizable pictorial vignettes. Further embellishment is provided by an array of  Hergé-esque cartoon figures, many representing the local culture, specialities & trades of the different arrondissements & quartiers of the French capital. Included are North African street vendors; newspaper boys; travelling salesmen; barrel makers & coopers; furniture makers & restorers; painters & decorators; gendarmes & armed robbers in chase;  jailbreakers; Montmartre artists & jazz musicians; the seedier side of Pigalle nightlife; dancers & ballerinas; lawyers; politicians; students; lovers; soldiers & war veterans; a lady greengrocer pushing her cart of fresh produce; a couple of butchers about to do their worst to a cow & a pig; nannies & young mothers strolling the streets & pushing traditional prams; young children at play & feral urchins roaming the streets; dogs lifting legs at lamp posts or accompanying elegant ladies; zoos & wild animals; and around the peripheries, innumerable suburban sports and pastimes, including picnicking, fishing, tennis, horse racing, and pelota. Strangely, for a City now so clogged with urban traffic, only one single car  is shown, a sleek & stylish grey saloon, here parked on the wealthy Ave Victor Hugo, adjacent to the Arc de Triomphe.

A modern single-wing aircraft swoops low over the city from the North east, above the fertile suburban fields & smoking factories of this evidently renascent post-war metropolis.  In the top left, the title cartouche includes the City’s symbolic sailing ship (as depicted on its coat of arms) & motto – fluctuat nec mergitur (“tossed on the waves but never sunk”). In the lower right, a fine compass spur completes the decoration of this uncommon & entertaining  pictorial plan.