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Donald Goldberg collection of French caricature, 1830-1853

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Finding aid for the Donald Goldberg collection of French caricature, 1830-1853

Biographical/Historical Note

This collection is comprised entirely of 19th century French lithographs designed by two artists known by their pseudonyms, Paul Gavarni and Grandville. Guillaume Sulpice Chevalier was born in Paris on 13 January, 1804. He began to study drawing with Professor Leblanc at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in 1818, and sold his first lithograph for publication in 1824. In 1829 he adopted the name Paul Gavarni after a town in the Pyrenees. The following year he turned to fashion illustration and later designed theatrical costumes and carnival disguises. Beginning in 1837 he drew lithographs for Charles Philipon's journals Le Charivari and La Caricature. Gavarni's images are observations of social manners and customs (and as such are technically caricature only by association). He differed from Philipon's more famous discovery, Honoré Daumier, whose scathing political and social caricature offended many, particularly the government censors. Gavarni abandoned lithography entirely following the death of his young son in 1857, and gradually withdrew from society. He died in obscurity in 1866.

Jean-Ignace-Isidore Gérard was born at Nancy in 1803. His pseudonym was borrowed from his paternal grandparents, who worked as comedian under the names Monsieur and Madame Grandville ("Big City"). He began his career as a miniature painter, studying first with his father and then with Hippolyte Le Comte, but by 1820 had abandoned this medium and devoted himself to lithography and illustration. As an increasing dislike for the messy work of lithography took hold, he began to work with collaborators who copied his drawings onto the lithographic stone. In his own time he was considered first a political caricaturist, and second an illustrator of children's works. In both types of drawings he metamorphosed humans and animals, revealing at the same time our animalistic nature and our tendency to anthropomorphize. All the lithographs by Grandville in this collection are political caricatures published in La Caricature, except the first, a social caricature which features the infamous character M. Mayeux, and the last, which was published on subcription only. Following the death of his three children, and of his wife of nine years in 1842, Grandville himself died in 1847 in an asylum at Vanves near Paris.




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