Speaker Nelly Gable
Nelly Gable, type punchcutter at the Imprimerie Nationale, was appointed Maître d’art (living treasure of art) by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in 2013. A graduate of the École Boulle in Paris, Nelly Gable had to impose herself in a male-dominated profession. She first worked in jewelry as a relief engraver serving Murat (for Guy Laroche and others). Then, in 1987, she entered the Cabinet des poinçons of the Imprimerie Nationale to practice an endangered trade, that of type punchcutter. Gable specializes in the graphic arts: “When we have experimented with other types of engraving, we realize that here we need extreme rigor. A letter is not like a jewel, it is part of a set. If the type weight is too bold or too light, the harmony of the page is no longer respected. We must facilitate reading.” Gable, the first woman punchcutter, works at the restoration of the collections and is in charge of watching over the engraved heritage of the Cabinet des poinçons, which includes about 700,000 pieces classified as Monuments historiques. In 2002, Gable spent a year studying the striking of matrices with a former Foucher founder of the Imprimerie Nationale. Gable is co-author of Pérennité des poinçons et matrices. Les principaux graveurs du XXe siècle, published in the book Histoire de l’écriture typographique, le XXe siècle, tome 1 : de 1900 à 1950. Publisher: Atelier Perrousseaux. On February 26, 2018, punchcutting was finally listed in the inventory of French intangible cultural heritage.