Jean-Louis Clerc was born in Neuchatel, Switzerland, in 1908. He studied architecture and fine art in Zurich, Geneva and finally Stockholm, developing his characteristic graphic style: a fine, lively line with delicate touches of color, earning a string of prestigious clients for his distinctive illustrations. A lover of horses, and a keen racing enthusiast, he published several equestrian-themed books including "Le Prestige du cheval".
A meeting with Robert Dumas in 1950 led to a dozen designs for Hermès scarves, including Soirée de Gala and Paddock, a lively evocation of that favorite meeting-place of racehorses and their owners, jockeys, elegant ladies and punters, before the beginning of each race. A thicket of top-hats, broad-brimmed ladies’ hats and jockeys’ silk caps… Captured here with such immediacy, we might almost hear the hubbub of conversation.