Leon Dupin Biography

Leon Dupin (Leon signatory or Léo Dupin), known as “Palou” - Update 2006 November the 30 th

In spite of its pleasing and accessible side there was at Léo Dupin a certain discretion which prevented it from entrusting. Even his wife did not know everythings of his career , his formation.
He worked with printer Joseph-Charles until 1936. He became the first poster artist at Prot Brothers. in 1936, he declined an offer to go to work in the United States for the studio of Walt Disney because the idea of leaving France and having to learn English made ??him reject this proposal. In 1939, he participated in the founding of the Academy of the poster.


Son of François Dupin and Antoinette Plasse, Leon Dupin is born on March 22, 1898 with St Etienne (France).

He has two brothers older than him, Jean and André.


He joins Paris and enters the printing works Joseph Charles as advertising draughtsman in 1926.

The workshop is close to the Pantheon, to the 09 street of Estrapade in the 5è.

In Paris it meets Armande Moreau which he marries in 1930.

Of this union will be born two wires, Claude (1931) and Philippe (1939).

The period 1926-1936 is particularly creative. In addition to the drawing, Léo Dupin controlled the photograph very well. He develops himself his pictures, transforming the bathroom of the apartment into laboratory.

He works in particular with Draeger (photographer and printer).

Many times, his wife and his first son Claude will inspire the characters of some of his posters. (The Melba toasts Mascotte, the Gilbert coffee, candies and chocolates of Familistere…)

In 1934 at the time of a contest organized by  "Régie Française", old name of the french tobacco company "Seita", his project for the Celtique cigarettes is accepted.

He will work with printing works Joseph-Charles until 1936.

Become first poster artist at Prot Brothers, in 1936 he declines a proposal to go to work in the USA for the studios Walt Dysney because the idea to leave France and to have to learn English make him disallow this proposal.

In 1939, he takes part in the foundation of the academy of the poster.


With the war, the family leaves Paris to go to take refuge in Chateauroux near the family of Armande.

After a mobilization of a few months, Léo Dupin is found without work.

He joins his family and carries out posters or decorations for the theatre company “Les Tréteaux de Bombardon” in Chateauroux, or posters for fairs or stands.

Work being limited, he is devoted to painting.

He works with the brush, or, more often, with the knife, carries out and sells fabrics, blood gouaches, watercolours or.

He paints died natures, landscapes (villages, edges of water, landscapes of the island of Ré…), people.


Gone back to Paris in January 1946, he finds a place in printing works Prot Frères as advertising draughtsman, foreman avenue of Alma. But of other poster artists being imposed (Savignac, Colin…), he does not find same work: in this workshop mainly dedicated to creations for packing or the PLV, he creates the models of limp of drugs, of limp food, or of the Camembert cheese labels. Having a perfect command of photography, he carries out also advertising pages. In his work, the photo cheek a paramount role and is used regularly basic for his creations.

Parallel to its work, he is devoted more and more to the painting of rest and fact of many exposures in Paris area, in particular with the town hall of Boulogne.

For his periods of holidays on the island of Ré, he paints, exposes, and sells many fabrics.

In Paris, the family lived a building beside the Park of the Princes. All his collection, posters, packing, models, tests, were stored at the cellar. A quite dry cellar, without risk. Until the rupture of a drain detected too late: all his found transformed into mud, out of irremediable paper pulp… Of this collection, only some posters, two albums of models are saved.

He will finish his career at Prot Frères, repurchased by the American group Bowater.

He takes its retirement in 1963.


Léo and Armande buy the Farmhouse of the Olive-trees with Opio (near Nice, South of France) in 1957.

hey establish there definitively in 1965.

“Palou” as his close relations call it, is devoted to painting, fishing in particular in friends in Garoupe (Cape d' Antibes) or with the walk, with the maintenance of its olive-trees.

Most of the time, Léo Dupin was going on the ground to very quickly note a subject with the watercolour before working it over again at his place with oil on a fabric. With other occasions, he worked according to photograph.

Between 68 and 71, he will be victim of three cardiac injuries.

Sick and very weakened, Léo Dupin dies in June 1971 in his residence, the Farmhouse of the Olive-trees.

He is buried with the small cemetery of Opio.


In a usual way Leon Dupin signed his work, which makes his creations generally identifiable.

His work of advertising creation is generally initialed by the signatures, Leon Dupin, or Leo Dupin.

“Leon Dupin”, for the first name, the L consists of only one bar, the N is not completed, appearing one v not reversed.

For the name, the last leg of N is prolonged downwards, very in on this side signature.

“Léo Dupin”, uses same graphics but N of his first name disappeared.

A third signature is to date indexed on only one poster, that for the Pau shoes: there the author used the signature which it uses in the civil one, a L followed by a graphics appearing Dup_.