A. M. Cassandre – Au Bucheron

One of the most important posters created by Cassandre was Au Bucheron, a poster created as an advertisement for a cabinet maker in 1923. The poster itself led to Cassandre’s later and widespread success and fame, winning him recognition and an iconic style. It is a depiction of a man chopping down a tree, not very exciting in principle, but very exciting in how Cassandre depicted it. The figure of the man and tree are simple black outlines with minimalistic details and highlights, which contrasts intensely with the bright orange background, which looks like a sun rise. It demonstrates Cassandre’s inspirations in cubism and surrealism, seen in the dynamic shapes and poses of the elements of the poster. The poster is bright and exciting, drawing the viewer in towards the center and the action of the man cutting down the tree, presumably to make a cabinet out of. It also shows Cassandre’s views of the purpose of a poster, how it is meant to be mass produced, but at the same time meshing with the urban environment. Unlike other advertisements that may have been around at the time, it does not have a cabinet anywhere on the poster, leaving the meaning to a few lines supporting the picture. The poster makes the idea of a cabinet exciting and manly, rather than a wooden box with descriptions next to it like other posters. The poster set a tone for the rest of Cassandre’s work, and he would continue to use and exploit scale, contrast, dynamism, and a synthetic quality to his work throughout his career.