I'm fairly certain that I'm not alone in thinking that over the years the French Post has had many, many incredibly talented artists on their payroll engraving stamps. So many in fact that it can be rather overwhelming trying to collect all of their amazing work. My strategy to date has been to choose a particular engraver, and then spent some time getting to know their work and their style. And along the way start putting together the bones of a collection.
Most recently I've become intrigued by the work of Jules Piel. I haven't looked at much of his work yet, but what I have seen really impresses me. His first engraving, which was part of a definitive set for Andorra in 1932 is a true thing of beauty. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the design, which was printed in six values, just yet. But I did find the below image.
Between 1932 and 1966 Jules Piel was a prolific engraver for both France and her various colonies. For a full bio, check out this blog post HERE. Indeed, many iconic French stamps were the work of this master engraver. Perhaps the most important of these was a set depicting Marshall Pétain, issued in 1941.
Commencing in 1950, France began issuing a set of stamps on an annual basis with a surcharge to go to the Red Cross. Jules Piel engraved this first set of Red Cross stamps. In fact, he contributed to every set until his retirement from the French postal authority in 1966. And I was delighted to discover that not only did Jules Piel rack up an extensive array of stamps, but he also engraved quite a few banknotes! I must say, I'm really looking forward to delving more deeply into the work of this prolific artist.
Until next time...