Johnson & Johnson company history (excerpts): A Company That Cares (1927)
report to Johnson & Johnson about Modess - Modess newspaper ads 1927-28 - "Silent Purchase" ad, June 1928 - ad, 1928 - "Modernizing Mother" ads: #1, February 1929 ("Mother . . . don't be quaint");

Modess Growing Up and Liking It (complete booklets: 1944, 1949, 1957, 1963, 1964, 1970, 1972, 1976, 1978, 1991

Modess "Teacher's kit" (complete, early 1950s, Personal Products Corp., U.S.A.)

Modess pamphlet introducing its Meds tampons to the world (1930s)

More booklets and kits.

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Read 10 years (1996-2006) of articles and Letters to Your MUM on this site.
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.


ad, 1951
Vogue, U.S.A.

I have your attention.

Did the Italian genius who painted this and lived to be 95 create the oh-so-fashionable woman in the ad below?

For decades Americans saw magazine ads showing ultra-stylish women stuttering when trying to explain what they were selling - and maybe wearing.

That was the "Modess.... because" ad campaign.

Star photographers Cecil Beaton and Diane Arbus with her husband photographed many of these ads. Avant-garde designer Charles James created many of the gowns.

But did one of the 20th-century's great illustrators (and I think artists) create one of its similar but non-because ads? This one?

The style resembles René Gruau's (see below). At the time of the ad, 1951, during the "Modess....because" campaign, the popular fashion illustrator had just finished working with Vogue but because of time lag in publication it could have easily have been made earlier. Besides, the artist probably worked with the ad agency, not the magazine. You judge.

After diverting the reader with fashion, the text gets to the crux: not menstruation - horrors! - but hiding the box! Efficiency expert Dr. Lillian Gilbreth would have beamed when examining it!

The point was that high fashion and secret boxes kept the ladies, mentally, far away from their periods.

(Many facts here come from the Wikipedia article on Gruau.)

Below: The ad measures about 9 3/4 x 12 3/4" (24.8 x 32.4 cm)
and forms the inside back cover of the magazine.

Below: Compare the ad's painting with Italian illustrator René Gruau's painting, below, signature below right. Did he paint the Modess ad woman? All examples but the ad come from Google images.

Below: Gruau's signature, suspiciously lacking in the Modess painting.
Below: In a Gruau sketch, look how the swipes of the brush resemble his signature. Simple. Beautiful.

Johnson & Johnson company history (excerpts): A Company That Cares (1986)
Modess newspaper ads 1927-28 - "Silent Purchase" ad, June 1928 - ad, 1928 - "Modernizing Mother" ads: #1, February 1929 ("Mother . . . don't be quaint")

"Teacher's kit" (complete, early 1950s, Personal Products Corp., U.S.A.)

Modess pamphlet introducing its Meds tampons to the world (1930s)

© 2015 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute any of the work on this Web site
in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected
violations to hfinley@mum.org\

Below: Gruau admired Toulouse-Lautrec, which shows when you compare this Gruau illustration with the Toulouse-Lautrec below it. Gruau helped the advertising campaign for Moulin Rouge and the movie La Dolce Vita. And so much else. Look at the tiny signature on the lower left side near the coat-pants border.