Sunday, April 24, 2011

Euro-Kartoenale 2011 Catalogue

catalogue cover
"Shoes" is the theme of the 18th edition of the Euro-kartoenale of Kruishoutem.
In the foreword,Rudy Gheysens, president of the ECC writes:
"The modern cartoon is indeed more than a drawn joke: it is also poetry, philosophy or the expressions of our harsh reality."

The catalogue costs 15 eur ( contact ECC).

opening of the exhibition (on the left side, you recognize Andy Riley)
winning cartoons
impression of the exhibition
winner Allessandro Gatto
3-d cartoon Marc De Bel
3-D cartoon 
prize winners - Cost,  Pol Leurs, Agim Sulaj,
Allessandro Gatto, Ludo Goderis

Learn more:
More pics on ECC Facebook page
Pics and information about the Euro-Kartoenale on the ECC website

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Another very old book

Article by JMB

Grose's book: Principes de Caricatures is the first ‘How to Cartoon’ published in France, but the book: ‘Musée de la caricature’ (Museum of Caricature) by Jaime is a survey of satirical and humorous etchings from the Middle-Ages to the Napoleonic period. It is the very first French methodical historical analysis of caricature. For this very reason, it deserves to be presented too.

There is no mention of a limited edition and I don’t know how many copies were printed, but as this book was published in 1838, of course it is hard to find. It was never be reprinted.

There are two volumes with 230 numbered etched plates on 226 leaves (sixty-five hand-colored and fifteen folding), and 320 pages of text by fifteen authors explaining every caricature, its situation, its characters and meaning, as well as its historical backgrounds.

Here is a quotation about this book: "The reader soon realized that the history of France for the preceding five centuries could be studied through caricatures, and that valuable insights could be found about the history of religious conflicts, class struggles, and attitudes towards authority" (Aaron Sheon, "The Discovery of Graffiti," Art Journal, Volume 36, No. 1 [Autumn 1976], p. 17).

Ernest Jaime (1802-1884) is both the editor of this collection and the gifted engraver of all these caricatures which he exactly copied from the original sources.

If each volume is 22 x 28 cm and it has almost the same number of etchings. The first one runs from the 14th century to 1788, when the second volume runs from the French Revolution to Napoleon’s fall in 1815.

The content of these volumes was originally issued in eighty parts between 1834 and 1835, which were distributed to subscribers. Each part had four pages of text to which were added two or three etched plates on full leaves. The first parts of Museum of Caricature were published in one bound volume by Hautecœur & Martinet in 1834, but this collection only contains 144 plates. Its subtitle is: Picturesque History of French Satire, Malice and Gaiety

XVIIth century
The complete edition in two volumes is subtitled ‘Collection of the Most Remarkable Caricatures from the 14th Century till Nowadays’. Indeed it deals as well with notable political events as with particular social themes of that times: manners, fashion and mores; such as the difficulties in Paris, like the French writer Nicolas Boileau described them in the verses of his satirical lampoon ‘Satires”, in 1666.

The French Revolution

The French Revolution

At the end of this article, I apology for not having cleared up every cartoon but set some hypertext links in place of, as it had been a too long and hard task to detail each one and explain it in English. Nevertheless, I would not finish this presentation without an explanation of this last caricature about Napoleon and Field Marshal Ney. I must first say that French humor is often based on puns: we, French people, use and love to play with words. This plate is entitled ‘Le serment de Ney’ (Ney’s oath). But since ‘serment’ and ‘serrement’ (squeezing) sound similarly and since ‘Ney’ and ‘nez’ (nose) sound the same, the Ney’s oath is also understood as a ‘nose squeezing’

article by JMB

Monday, April 11, 2011

MATT cartoons - Amours d' Animaux

I recently discovered this nice cartoon book by Matt. It's difficult to translate the title. It could be 'Animal love affairs' or 'loves of animals' or maybe 'Animal Passion' could suit too. The purpose of the book is to humanize  animals and look at the world through the animal's eyes.

The book has been published by Glénat, France (1994,ISBN 2-7234-1758-1)

Carlos Matera (Matt) was born in Buenos Aires in 1963. He started his career in 1984 drawing publicity using graphic humor. In 1985 he published his first cartoons in various Argentin magazines. Since 1990, he lives in Europe.

The cartoons are very colourful and I 'm very sure Matt has been inspired by the great Mordillo (also born in Argentina).

This is great art: look at the stripes of light!

Learn more:

Matt has some blogs where you can see more of his nice cartoons:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

About a rare edition of a not rare book

Article by JMB

Before presenting some other rare books, I react on Stephen Worth's recent post and I seize the opportunity to show you a book that is being constantly reprinted since the turn of the 18th / 19th century: Lavater’s essay on physiognomy.
Johann Kaspar Lavater is a Swiss pastor who is particularly famous for this work, of witch the original version is first published in German, both in his country and in Leipzig: Physiognomische Fragmente zur Beförderung der Menschenkenntnis und Menschenliebe (1875-1878) and that is first published in French in The Netherlands in four successive volumes: 1781; 1783; 1786 and 1803 for the fourth one that is a posthumous volume summarizing his theories. Like every old first publishing, these books are hard to find, particularly in a complete set, since its 4th volume is particularly rare. This edition’s 1st volume has some texts which were unpublished in the German edition.

The French title can be translated in Essay on Physiognomy to Let Know Man and to Love Him. The first volume has 294 pages and 14 additional plates. The second volume has 404 pages and 78 additional plates.

The third volume has 306 pages and 53 additional plates. The fourth volume has 328 pages and 48 additional plates. There are also many other engravings in the text of these volumes.
These books are big: 31 x 37 cm and they weigh over 15 kg. Soon after this edition, a very abridged edition, is published in France as a pocket book with only 33 plates: Le Lavater portatif (The Portable Lavater) ; it has - at least - six editions: from 1806 to 1815. Then a ten volumes edition is published in 1820. Some new editions come in 1845 and in 1850 and so on in France. This Essay was republished many times in Europe and overseas too till nowadays .

His aim is to decipher the human soul from the facial features, according to his first belief that "man was created similar to God’s image". It is to say that the exaggerations of caricature are not his ‘cup of tea’, as he considers them as useless and maybe like a kind of blasphemy! At the same time, the caricature theorist Francis Grose , also considering the angles and proportions of different facial features, sets rules for this art. But even exaggerations have their limits and Grose recommends charging the peculiarities of the caricatured peoples with a judicious moderation, to make them not ugly but simply ridiculous. His purpose is to correct customs by laughing at these people - castigat ridendo mores.

Lavater does not laugh; he is just interested in morals as he deciphers it from mankind's physical aspect. Beauty (what he wants to quantify in his studies) is a sign of virtue and what deviates from his ideal standards is an evidence of vice, maliciousness or stupidity.

Lavater develops his analysis through many illustrated examples of famous people (Socrates, Caesar, Locke, Catherine II, Jesus Christ, etc...) or general characters (like the four temperaments: sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic).

Among other topics, he deals with the form of skulls, reading the silhouettes of the various faculties of the human spirit, comparing national aspects, etc...

He incorporates ancient theories developed by Aristotle in particular; his book is part a result of De Humana Physiognomonia (1586) by della Porta, the conference of Le Brun on the Passions of the Soul (1668) distributed by engravings of Sébastien Le Clerc (1692), and  Camper's study about lines of animality.

If this work divided the scientific Europe, its success was immense. His influence has continued in the nineteenth century and even beyond, through Gall’s theories of phrenology or Lombroso’s ‘born criminal’.

article by JMB