Home Art The work of Jean Paul Goude.

The work of Jean Paul Goude.

by Andreas Rekopoulos
Jean Paul Goude

Jean Paul Goude (born in 1940) is a modern legend in the world of commercial art. Photographer, illustrator, graphic designer and advertising film director, he always surprises his audience around the globe.

From his days with Esquire magazine in New York to his most recent work for Paris’s Galeries Lafayette, Goude has surprised, provoked and delighted those who have encountered his work. Chanel, Perrier, Kodak, Citroen and many others are some of the brands that Goude worked for, at the forefront of advertising and illustration for over three decades. His work is provocative, original and always with a hint of his unique sense of humor.

Jean Paul Goude studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, he embarked on a career as an illustrator to proceed as an art director of US Esquire at the age of 25.

It was in New York’s nightlife at Studio 54 that he met Grace Jones who was then working as a model. She turned out to be a musician and performer, as well as his most recognizable and influential muse.  He became her manager and lover, her Pygmalion, who created unforgettable images of her, from androgyne to cybersuper-woman to supreme diva. He also organized outrageous live shows and created groundbreaking album covers, long time before computer technologies invades show business.

His most celebrated print campaigns have been for Galeries Lafayette, the leading Parisian department store he’s worked with for more than 10 years. Goude has been given considerable creative freedom, to take advantage of his eccentric, brilliant talent. He’s opted to shoot the on-going adventures of “a comic book character, half way between Herge’s Tintin and a heroine of an early Pearl Buck novel”.

And perhaps that’s the point, to create an interesting, imaginative shoot which hovers between fact and fiction.

“I regularly ask myself about the status of my work and the classification of what I do” says Jean-Paul Goude. “How relevant is my work, and does it correspond to the life of an artist – even as I conceived it? Is it art or something else? I still don’t know if I’ll ever find an answer.”

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