Art: Telegrapher

For two decades. Painter Paul Colin had all France for an art gallery. His work appeared on stately buildings and on ruins, on the walls of Paris' Folies-Bergere and in a thousand small-town railway stations.

As France's most successful poster artist, Colin turned out the best affiches since Toulouse-Lautrec, and he had mastered his predecessor's trick of seizing a subject's single feature and turning it into an artistic stop sign. Among Colin's subjects: Isadora Duncan, Josephine Baker, Pavlova, Katharine Hepburn, the French National Railroads, Cinzano, vacation resorts such as Cannes and Deauville.

Soon after World War II, successful Artist Colin—who had started as...

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