Painted Roadside Advertisements

Imminent revival ?
Our common heritage
Brand list
Links to related sites

Wines & Liquors
Other drinks
Fibers and clothing
House & garden
Cleaning & maintenance
Home appliances
Construction & related
Fuel & related


Walls not only do have ears, they can speak too. At least they could. Just like the animals they lost the ability. But unlike the animals they lost it only recently. Billboards muted their voice. Relentless decay took off immediately.

Weather-worn as they are, slowly falling into oblivion or victim to road widening, over­grown by ivy, hidden by modern attention seekers, nice panels are only very rarely seen. Worse still, in most countries none are painted anymore. Most of the images are from France and Belgium where this kind of road ornament was wide-spread. Though The Art is clearly history, our fieldwork resulted in some recent examples: we have fresh panels from India, Ecuador, Portugal, Madagascar, Austria, and several countries more.

Far from all walls qualify. The admission requirements are very strict.

Every advertisement is the work of an artist. A lost profession never shown in a museum. Do we have a name for this occupation? Was it an artist (or a small team) touring and painting, or was it the local painter who got a worksheet with instructions? I hope to find some time to explore on this subject.

Every painting tells something about past times. It shows us how society has changed. Back then the message was there for the ages; the cost of the artwork could be spread over several years. Today, every modern advice is shortly overruled by a better one; many times even before their sloppy habit of getting loose becomes apparent.

Back then the message was short and unambiguous. There was no need for pun, difficult word associations or complex image editing. The latter was easier than now­adays, because when painting you don't have to start with existing pictures. But, it was not done. This no-frills approach brought us easy to remember facts of life: beer = Mons, maintenance products = Ça-va-seul, soap = Sunlight, cognac = Martell, ask Forvil for your hair. This way of doing is in fact also better adapted to present day fast driving.

Every display was unique and adapted to the local situation. Dubonnet (Vin tonique au quinquina) adjusts the size of the good news to fill the available space on the wall. Martell plays with the brand-logo and Suze changes type face or size to make it fit.
Dubonnet, Martell and Suze are in the liquor section

Some walls show almost amazement for the wonders of modern technology. The nylon transparent brief of Rasurel, the Rhovyl atlete and the healthy stomach of Carvalhelhos are fine examples of a naivety now gone or in its modern equivalent not recognised, yet.
See Fibers & clothing and also Other drinks

Even our small collection makes it possible to state some general guidelines for people willing to apply the original techniques.
In advertising speech known as Granny's recipe

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