Gilbert Garnon, assuming such a person existed and is not a pseudonym, appears to have joined the French Resistance in 1943, and been married to either or both of Monique and Collette Garnon. What we know for sure is that a Gilbert Garnon was active during the second world war, and that (possibly the same) Gilbert Garnon was working in graphic arts and book production in the mid-1950s, when he was working as a consultant to a printing business in Bilbao, Spain. Whether this is the same Gilbert Garnon as the illustrator for a handful of erotic works published in the late 1970s and early 80s is less certain, but the name is not a common one, so let us assume that all three Gilbert Garnons are one and the same, an illustrator with a very distinctive style.

The first Garnon-illustrated work was the Marquis de Sade’s La nouvelle Justine, published by Editions Borderie in 1979, followed by Cent trente deux positions amoureuses in 1981 and Quelques images pour la jeunesse d’Alexandre, published by Jean Jacques Pauvert’s publishing venture La Vue in 1982. The last of Garnon’s quartet, a bande desinée version of Musset’s Gamiani, was also published by La Vue the same year.

Garnon’s drawings are naive, bordering on crude, but he had a sure hand, a wry wit, and a fertile imagination. Nearly all his illustrations include a strong outline around the key elements, drawing the eye in to the subjects.