The tip of a black court shoe peeking through a half-open door


What do you see above?
Don’t ask me how long I stared at this illustration by René Gruau trying to figure it out.
Consolation was offered when no one else in the household could figure it out either.
And then, I did a bit of scouting…


Elégante (Lady) was sold at Christies in Paris in 2011 for $12,919.  The illustration is 18 3/8 in x 12¼ in.  Here are some excerpts from a tribute on the René Gruau Official Website:

“…And even if his name is not on everyone’s lips, his fashion sketches, his posters, his advertisements have all caught our eye at some time, without us even realising it… or wanting it to happen because Gruau has succeeded in elevating suggestion to a fine art form, creating images that we can now qualify as “subliminal”.

Do you remember… the tip of a black court shoe peeking through a half-open door, a leg clad in silk that suggests the most carnal celebrations. Ah! If only the door would open… but it resists, for the glory of Dior, by Gruau’s magic… and to our great disappointment.

Do you remember… the cherry-red lips of a woman, wearing a black blindfold, a sensual invitation to a furtive and anonymous kiss, with charm as indelible as the Rouge Baiser she exalts.

Do you remember… the thrilling seams of a woman climbing a ladder, to show off the indiscreet charm of Scandale’s stockings and corsets.

Even more elliptical, do you remember the Dior perfumes where a woman replaces the bottle, exalting the very spirit of the perfume through such an ellipse.

Yes, Gruau the magician plays the scales of our five sense and our fantasies with masterful extravaganza. Whether they are obscure objects of desire or inaccessible stars, Gruau’s women have not finished haunting our dreams…

René Gruau (1909–2004) was a renowned Italian fashion illustrator whose exaggerated portrayal of fashion design through painting has had a lasting effect on the fashion industry. Gruau became one of the best known and favorite artists of the haute couture world during the 1940s and 50s working with an assortment of “high-style” magazines. Gruau’s artwork is recognized and commended internationally in some of Paris and Italy’s most prestigious art museums including the Louvre in Paris and the blank in Italy. In addition to his international fame and recognition, “Gruau’s artwork is known for its timeless and enduring style”.

To see more of his work, check out the René Gruau Official Website and the René Gruau Collection.

Source: Thank you Dan @ YourEyesBlazeOut.  Image Credits: Elégante from Christies. Bio Source: Wiki


  1. It’s too early…I’m not getting from large brimmed hat, hand and lips to a shoe and an partially open door. But I’ll try again after more coffee.


  2. I was guessing some sort of poster for the UN. :-/ I saw the world being lifted up by the power of many, metaphorically speaking. GEESH, I definitely do not pass go OR collect $200. Guess I’ll just hit the showers….


  3. well, i first thought it to be an asian symbol, a hand holding up something, just below a sun and a sky. just a bit off – then the beautiful woman with the hat and the red lips appeared. who knew? wonder what my original view would say about me?


  4. I’m with Mimi…I saw it right away.


  5. hmmmm… this is very interesting… 🙂 I thought I was viewing a giant butt… hahahaha LOL


  6. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    It’s lovely – just a few brush strokes. Such mastery!


  7. I see a hand holding a cup (red), reaching out to a moon beam, lol!


  8. I definitely didn’t see a giant butt!


  9. I’ve seen it before…and knew right away what it was…and it immediately created a very nice feeling. You make me smile my friend. 🙂


  10. I did figure out right away – but what genius in simplicity and beauty!


  11. OMG! It took me hardly 10 – 15 seconds to figure it out 🙂 (I swear I didn’t see the photo before).


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