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I Said It

Today on the site we have Cynthia Rose on a great-sounding caricature show at the Museum of Decorative Art, in Paris.

From Caricature to Poster takes you back to a lost moment. In the fin de siècle poster boom, it’s quite a surprise: ads and promotions created entirely by caricaturists. The story of how this happened is quirky – but it’s as real as that of Lautrec’s Moulin Rouge or Mucha’s Sarah Bernhardt. You can see it now at Museum of Decorative Art in Paris.

Along with Art Nouveau, French poster art created the defining graphics of la Belle Époque. The posters also changed design and typography. Yet no sooner had they bloomed than their industry lost its leaders and, as their art degenerated, so did its commercial power. Panicked, the ad men at its helm sought replacements – and, rapidly, found them in a thriving French humor press. For a brief moment, this offbeat pairing flourished. Then, because of World War I, it was forgotten.

Whether they made pornographic pamphlets or best-selling weeklies, caricaturists had always served as their own promoters. But suddenly letting them loose on corsets, breath mints and bicycle tires? This was a dare whose irreverent results resuscitated an industry. Yet the show does not center on why the posters worked. Instead, out of their tiny history, it delivers something bigger: an important look at the legacy of Philipon’s pen.

This is the founding myth of French caricature. It was created November 14, 1831, when the editor Charles Philipon went on trial in Paris. Philipon, then 29, ran a year-old weekly by the name of La Caricature. There, his team there was one-of-a-kind, with graphic stars like Paul Gavarni, Honoré Daumier, J.J. Grandville and Traviés de Villers. (Balzac was another enthusiastic contributor). The journal was notorious for its provocations and, by that November date, Philipon had been subject to eleven prosecutions. This time, his drawings were charged with “outrage against the person of the King”.

Elsewhere:

I had no idea author Philip Pullman was releasing a graphic novel in 2017. Looks intriguing.

I missed this late-April interview with Toronto-based cartoonist Michael Comeau, who has completed his Hellberta comics project.

This exit interview with Bookslut founder Jessa Crispin is a good look at current critical and publishing landscapes.

I enjoyed this conversation between the painter Nicole Eisenman (whose work should be required viewing for anyone interested in narrative and figuration) and Grace Dunham.

Finally, go forth and purchase new comics from CF in an all new format.


2 Responses to I Said It

  1. CF’s all new format is a scroll. Awesome. I’ve long thought scrolls were eminently suitable to comics. They do need a holder, though. At least a handle at each end.

  2. From the Torygraph article on Pullman:

    “He is interested, too, in the connection between graphic novels and cinema, and the fact that both were invented in the same decade – the 1890s.”

    My Arse!!

    Artwork on that story looks nice. Good to see The Phoenix is still bringing it for the little ones.

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