7 Dec 2018

Two Paris Beauties Under Wraps

Ripolin and Bénédictine by Wim Dammers

A couple of years ago these two well-preserved ghost signs were revealed in Paris (see Streetview), presumably by the removal of billboards that covered and protected them.

[Update via Caroline’s Miscelleny: The uncovering was in 2012, and the works can be seen underway in the legacy Streetview.]

The first adverises Ripolin, a paint brand, which begs the question of whether the sign painters made use of the product in producing these pieces? The artwork features signwriters lettering each other’s backs, and was created in the late-1800s by Eugène Charles Paul Vavasseur. The painters were nicknamed Riri, Polo, Lino following the popularity of the long-running campaign, and famous artists that used the brand of enamel paints included Picasso. (See a 1913 lithograph of the original artwork on the Museum of Modern Art website.)

The second sign promotes Bénédictine, a French liqueur, again with a pictorial element, something that seems rather more prevalent on ghost signs in France than the UK for example.

Wim Dammers was kind enough to photograph both signs in their current state, which is also noteworthy. They have been covered on a temporary basis by a transparent protective material with the long-term plan being restoration by the local municipaility. This has proven a wise move given the proliferation of grafitti across the lower portion of the bottom sign.

It will be interesting to see what happens following the removal of the protective covering, and whether the grafitti returns to mar the resulting restrations. More to follow in the future no doubt…

Ripolin by Wim Dammers
Bénédictine by Wim Dammers

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