Monday Lectures

8 March 2021

The Golden Age of French Caricature 2: From Toulouse-Lautrec to Paul Iribe, 1880-1914

Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen - Tournée du Chat Noir de Rodolphe Salis, 1896

The turbulent politics of the 19th century strongly favored the emergence of political satire and caricature, in which the high and mighty of each successive government were mercilessly mocked in the opposition papers. The the stage and literary celebrities of the day also became a favorite target of the caricaturists, whereas the rise of socialist and anarchistchallenges to the social and economic order, opened the gates to ferocious caricatures of Capitalist society after 1890.

In this second part of our lecture, we will concentrate on the new periodicals of the end of the century (Le Grelot, L’Assiette au beurre) which flourished after the definitive establishment of freedom of speech and publication by the Third Republic in 1881 and their principal illustrators:  Alfred le Petit, Charles Léandre, Toulouse-Lautrec, Félix Valotton, Caran d’Ache, Frantisek Kupka, Théophile Steinlen, Paul Iribe and more. We will also look at the impact of the celebrated Dreyfus affair, which tore apart French society from 1894 to 1905, on the press and illustration and describe the advent of the first virulently antisemitic caricaturesof the modern era.The turbulent politics of the 19th century strongly favored the emergence of political satire and caricature, in which the high and mighty of each successive government were mercilessly mocked in the opposition papers. The the stage and literary celebrities of the day also became a favorite target of the caricaturists, whereas the rise of socialist and anarchistchallenges to the social and economic order, opened the gates to ferocious caricatures of Capitalist society after 1890.

In this second part of our lecture, we will concentrate on the new periodicals of the end of the century (Le Grelot, L’Assiette au beurre) which flourished after the definitive establishment of freedom of speech and publication by the Third Republic in 1881 and their principal illustrators:  Alfred le Petit, Charles Léandre, Toulouse-Lautrec, Félix Valotton, Caran d’Ache, Frantisek Kupka, Théophile Steinlen, Paul Iribe and more. We will also look at the impact of the celebrated Dreyfus affair, which tore apart French society from 1894 to 1905, on the press and illustration and describe the advent of the first virulently antisemitic caricatures of the modern era.

Victor Lenepveu, TheTraitor!  1900

(Caricature of Captain Alfred Dreyfus)