Firmin Bouisset

Etienne Maurice Firmin Bouisset (September 2, 1859 – 19 March 1925) was a French painter, poster artist and printmaker. He was born to a working-class family in the town of Moissac in the Tarn-et-Garonne département in southwestern France. As an artist, Firmin Bouisset specialized in painting children subjects and did a number of illustrated books such as La Petite Ménagère (The Little Housekeeper) in 1890.

At a time when posters were a popular form of advertising, Bouisset created posters with enduring images for a number of different French food companies such as Maggi and Lefèvre-Utile For the latter company, he used their LU initials as an ad logo as part of an 1897 poster image for a line of butter biscuits featuring “The Little Schoolboy” (French: Petit Ecolier) of which a variation is still being used by the company today. However, Firmin Bouisset is probably most famous for his posters for the French chocolate manufacturer, Menier. Contracted by the company in 1892, Bouisset used his daughter Yvonne as a model to create what became an iconic image of a little girl using a piece of chocolate to write the company’s name. The drawing was featured on a great many of the Menier company’s advertisements and on its packaged products as well as on promotional items such as creamers, bowls, sugar dishes, plates, canister sets, ashtrays, thermometers, key chains, and even children’s exercise books.

Bouisset’s work was part of the Maîtres de l’Affiche as well as L’Estampe Moderne, the leading publisher of original French prints during the late nineteenth century. Today, many of his posters are very popular with collectors and because they are no longer copyright protected are being duplicated and sold on the Internet and in retail outlets in many countries.

Firmin Bouisset died in Paris in 1925.