LE BOIS DE BOULOGNE HERMES SCARF BY HUGO GRYGKAR 90 CM SILK TWILL – EARLY ISSUE
Les Bois de Boulogne Hermes silk twill scarf (100% silk) - Early Issue
Designed by Hugo Grygkar in 1957
Excellent Vintage Condition - please see details below*
Measures 36" x 36"
Unsigned - this artist did not sign any of his designs
Hand Rolled Hem - flat, puckering with stitching showing
Made in France
*two areas of distressed silk, a couple of faint spots, a small spot, possible very light grey color transfer of coaches that looks like it is part of the design. Also note condition of hem
The idea of a carré, to print exclusive designs on a square piece of silk came about in the 1930s. At that time Robert Dumas, son of Emile, then president of the design house Hermès, with talented designers behind him, was able to quickly convince his father about this idea and the Hermès carré as we know it, was born.
Hugo Grygkar not only designed the very first carré for Hermès, but he also became Hermès’ most prolific artist. Born on December 9, 1907 in Munich to a Czech family, he grew up in Germany where he from an early age attended the studio of his father, who was a tinsmith and bronze sculptor. In 1914, his family left for France and settled first in Brittany, in Lannion, and laterin the Parisian suburbs. In his youth, Hugo was adiligentartist and anavidreader, who also loved to write. A very private and modest person, Hugo kept his education somewhat of a mystery but he most likely attended l’Academie des Beaux-Arts and then the Studio La Ruche in Paris. In 1939 along with his father, Hugo joined a special corps in the French army made up of Czech volunteers. Althoughdismissedafter a few monthsdue tokidney disease,this commitmenthelped him obtainFrenchcitizenship. He marriedin 1942and two years later had a daughter,Beatrice.
After the war,in a difficult economic environment, in addition to designing scarves for Hermès, Hugo also worked as an illustratorandcommercial artist, producing movie posters and some drawingsfor magazines likeVogue.
Many of the carrés he designed during the forties were created in the tradition of thegreat illustrators. Maxims,proverbsand aphorismscome to lifein playful ways. Hugo with his great sense of humor created carrés that are in complete contrast to thehard times of thewar andthe immediate postwar period. A great example being the caricature styledLettre de Napoléon a Murat d’après Caran D’Ache (Caran D’Ache, pseudonym of a 19th century French satirist and political cartoonist Emmanuel Poiré, whose first work glorified Napoleon’s era)(Murat, the brother-in-law of Napoléon Bonaparte).
Lettre de Napoléon a Murat d’après Caran D’Ache, 1947
Already from his very early designs, Hugo expressed that innate sense of composition and harmony that will continue throughout his entire body of work.
Ex Libris(1946) beautifully reflects his keen ability to create balance and clarity in a composition. At the center is the now so famous bookplate,thatEmile–Maurice Hermès hadcreated for his personallibraryin 1923 (basis for Hermès logo to this day). Surrounded on all four sides byhorse-drawn carriages, inspired by ink drawings fromthe private collectionofEmile-Maurice. Designing from the outside in, Hugo focused first on the outer parts of his designs, which were often verycomplex and detailed, and only subsequentlycreating the central motif, leavingempty areas in between. He never signed any of his work.
Hugo Grygkar became the primary designerof the fashion houseHermès. In that role he was also a regular contributorto the window decorations ofthe Maison Hermès at 24FaubourgSaint-Honore in Paris. Designing carrés, Hugo worked in closecollaboration with RobertDumas, who would guidehimin the choiceof the subjects, drawing on his abundant private art collection as well as that ofEmile–Maurice Hermès.
The inspiration would come from sometimes ordinary objects like the bookplate, from books, artifacts and paintings. Both private collections became a source of wonderand inspirationfor Hugo, whose designs oftenreflected theireclecticism. Once a theme was decided upon, Hugo quickly sketched proposed concepts that Dumas would chose from. Both men shared a deep mutual respectand acommonfocus on detail and excellenceof the overall design. It was Hugo’s, modesty and amazing flexibility that allowed him to adaptto the demandsofDumas. In his perpetual quest for perfection, Hugo did not hesitate to get a live rooster for the design of carré Combats de Coqs (1954) ora realzebra skinfor what became La Chasse en Afrique (1957). He created more than one hundred drawings between1943and 1959.
Fueled byhis greatcuriosity, his sources of inspiration andthemes wereveryvaried. His carrés not only reflect the history,but helped create and shape the identityof the MaisonHermès.
Floralies, which became partof the collection in 1959, would be his last creation. Hugo Grygkar died February 22,1959due tokidney diseasefrom which he sufferedfor a long time. Shortly after his death, RobertDumasdescribed him in his diaryas “avaluable contributortothe creationof ourcarrés, a deeply religious man, honest, modestand full oftalent,”notingalsothe “style”,that he hadbeen ableto impart to the carré Hermès.
Grygkar’s influence on the carré and the Maison Hermès was profound and his legacy lives on to this day.
Sampling of Monsieur Grygkar’s other timeless creations –
Jeu des Omnibus et Dames Blanches 1st Hermes Scarf, 1936
Chevaux d’Apres Van der Meulen HERMES, 1951
A La Gloire De La Legion Étrangère, Hugo Grygkar, 1951, 1963