Geo Ham's friends

25, rue de l'œil de perdrix

53000 LAVAL - France

Phone: 09 66 91 76 17

 

Meet us

GEORGES HAMEL dit GEO HAM

1900 - 1972

 

"A MAN FROM LAVAL AT TOP SPEED"

A range of opinions  :

         - « The most remarkable painter of the motoring world » (L'Automobiliste, Editions Maeght, December 1985)

         - "Among the poster artists of the interwar period, Géo Ham comes at the top of the pile and has remained influential for many years since then" (Jean Durry, Le Sport et l'Affiche, 1988)

         - " Géo Ham is as much a sculptor as an artist ... The skills he has shown in the Art Déco posters advertising car races or rallies are unmatched: aircraft or racing cars bearing down on onlookers make your head spin" (Hervé Poulain, Automobiles Classiques n°47, dec. 1991.)

Chronological markers :

         Georges Hamel was born in Laval (Mayenne) on the 18 th of September 1900, and was brought up in a family with great feeling for artistic & technical developments of a new century full of promise.

         It was in his native town when he was 11 that he had a moment of revelation of the beauty of aeroplanes, when a pilot, Allard, flew over Laval.

         Two years later,the sight and sound of racing cars driven in Laval by G. Boileau (Peugeot) and E. Friedrich (Bugatti) - to mention only the most prestigious - filled the thirteen-year-old with wonder. Straightaway, young Georges took to his paintbrushes and covered the back of postcards published by his father with fine gouache. At school, at that same time his first prizes in art classes testified to his gifts, which his later career fully justified.

         In 1918, he passed the entrance examination for the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs and went up to Paris.

         Under the name Géo Ham, his posters advertising motor races and air shows brightened up many city walls. Simultaneously, his watercolours and gouaches livened up the books he illustrated. Besides, his skills as a designer were put to good use in the drawings of motorcycles, automobiles and advertising vans. Last but not least, his work as a press reporter shows how involved he was in the motoring scene.

         However, after World War II, in spite of his substantial assignments as a designer, the "prince of speed" gradually fell into almost total oblivion, a victim to the new technology of colour photography.

         He died in 1972 after a surgical operation. Only a dozen people attended his funeral.

         To make up for that situation an enthusiastic team of admirers was formed, sought to give Géo Ham the place he deserved and put his name back on top of the bill.

OUR TRACK RECORD

•  1994 "L'Ham de la course", the first exhibition of Géo Ham's work in Laval.

•  1996 "L'enfance de l'art", a painting contest.

•  1996   Official opening of the Géo Ham walkway.

•  1997   Special edition of a bronze (8 units) - Géo Ham driving a Derby at Le Mans 1934.

•  2006          Wall-painting on the Géo Ham Court (flats) in Laval.

•  2007/08   Exhibition in the pipeline « Géo Ham peintre de la vitesse, maître de l'affiche »

•  A quarterly newsletter « Etats d'Ham » (for members only).

•  A yearly postcard (500 copies).

•  4 sketchbooks (400 copies) - general design, the race, Monaco Grand Prix, Bugatti)

•  Stands at shows (Tours, St Brieuc, Evreux, Paris, Le Mans Classic, ...)

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Mr/Ms/Company .....................................................................................................

Name.............................................     First Name .....................................

Address .....................................................................................................

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wishes to join "Les Amis de Géo ham" and encloses a cheque payable to the society for the sum of

•  53 € for private individuals membership

•  215 € for company membership