Peynet was born in Paris on 16th November 1908
At 15 he gained entrance to the famous “Ecole des Arts Appliqués” a school which happened to be located just opposite the bistro owned by his parents (my grand-parents) who had moved from the Auvergne to Paris some years before.
He really started learning his trade when he began work as a draughtsman for Tolmer, an advertising agency in Paris, doing various tasks from sweeping the floor to drawing labels for perfume bottles and decorating biscuit boxes, eventually progressing to the creation of various advertisements.
In 1930 he married my mother called Denise and whose family name DAMOUR was most appropriate.
In order to make a better living, he started publishing his drawings in the Parisian press which included many popular editions at that time: Le Rire, Rire à deux, Paris magazine, The Boulevardier (a publication for the British population in Paris).
But it was in 1942 that his life would take a new turn!
Having been asked to deliver a confidential document to a correspondent located in Valence in the department of the Drôme, he was sitting on a bench where the appointment with the correspondent had been arranged. This bench was right opposite the music kiosk (classified historical monument since 1982). He drew a young, long-haired violinist playing alone in the kiosk and a young girl listening to him with great admiration.
A number of years later the violinist was replaced by a poet and the girl became his lover.
Les Amoureux de Peynet were born! Their image travelled across the world and were reproduced on porcelain, scarves and dolls, in books, as medallions and even statues (such as the one erected in Hiroshima, Japan). The image of the Peynet lovers have been stamped on anything symbolising love!
Georges Brassens would not have written “Les bancs publics” (Public benches) without my lovers, said Peynet.
Charles Aznavour also dedicated a song to them interpreted by Marcel Amont: “les amants en papier” (Paper lovers).
Four museums are presently dedicated to Peynet: Antibes, Brassac les Mines (native town of my grand-mother Isabelle), Karuizawa (Nagano, Japan) and Mimasaka (Okayama, Japan)
Raymond Peynet died on 14 January 1999 at the age of 90. It was exactly one month before Saint Valentine’s Day!