This article has been taken from Gebrauchsgraphik, August 1938
The fundamental tone of the city is grey. Asphalt, the patina of the façades, the slate roofs, the maze of chimney-post-discreet colouring in a unique scale of the finest nuances, and a unique background for the vivid splashes of colour created by awnings, newspaper kiosks, and posters! From out the romantic nooks and crannies of the immense forest of stone the posters gleam forth accentuating the melody of this city as they direct the eye to articles of everyday use and above all to people who are the talk of the hour. Here they are in their own proper setting where charm and intimacy soften austerity and restraint in form.
It is indeed precisely the sense of intimacy in the poster which is seen at its best in Paris as nowhere else. In addition, is the decorative element. Posters never take their surroundings amiss. With a grand gesture, they completely overlook anything mean and contemptible and direct attention to themselves, disguising and palliating ugliness. Neither are these Paris posters mere universal and matter-of-fact indicators like so many other advertisements, but speak a language of their own, one that is personal and direct. They differ from permanent advertisements as does the newspaper from the book. Consequently, cities that take a pleasurable interest in newspapers are those that find the greatest pleasure in posters. Vienna whose leaves were wont to rustle so loudly and were as characteristic of the city on the Danube as its coffee houses has a far larger surface area for its posters than has the capital of the Reich. In the city on the Seine where newspaper editions follow each other thick and fast, and every person one meets has generally one copy at least tucked under his arm, every available space is used for posters.
The photographer Maywald did well not to take isolated pictures of the posters shown here, which include some good work since they are essential and important to the whole scene forming a part of and characterising a milieu from whose bewitching charm no stranger can escape, and which to-day as in the past, is contained in the one word – Paris!
Photographs by Maywald, Paris