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French Language Cartoons

1878  "Les Deux Chevres."  Charivari, Paris, November, 1878.  Russia and England will hurt each other fighting over Afghanistan.  €4.50 from lycoum2 through Ebay, March, '22.  Second copy from an unknown source, July, '22.

Alas, how many international conflicts follow the pattern of this sad fable of two enemies meeting on an bridge large enough for only one.  Does the impact of a cartoon like this depend utterly on the audience's knowing the fable beforehand? 

1887 Newspaper page of 12 cartoon caricatures including one parodying FC.  €6.99 from lycoum2 through Ebay, Sept., '21.

John Bull as the fox holds out his hat to catch Egypt as the Sultan is ready to let it drop.  I note the unusual "Corbiau" and "biau" but am not sure how they add to the humor or critique here.  I suspect that there is more going on than I can perceive!

1899 "L'Aveugle et le Paralytique."  Dessin de Doës.  Front cover.  Le Rire No. 225, February 25, 1899.  9" x 12".  €10 at Clignancourt, July, '19.  Extra copy for €15 from a bouquinist, Paris, July, '23.

Behind an attractive woman, the invitation takes on more meaning: "I will walk for you and you will see for me." 

1899 "Simple Fable."  Dessin de Henri Dangon.  Back cover.  Le Sourire No. 440, April 4, 1908.  9½" x 12".  €10 at Clignancourt, July, '19.

A hungry wolf is here, and someone is seeking adventure.  I myself am not too sure who is the wolf and who is the lamb in this attractive sketch.  I also have a crazy sense that we have this illustration already somewhere in the collection, but I cannot find it.


1901 FG by Grün.  "Fables de La Fontaine."  Cover, Le Sourire, July 6, 1901.  €10 at Clignancourt, July, '17

Is the joke here that the man has consumed sour grapes and is now vomiting?  And the woman seems to be enjoying it?  Help!


1904 "Oh!  Ces Auteurs!"  Dessin de H. Gerbault.  Front cover.  Le Rire Nouvelle Serie No. 63, April 16, 1904.  9" x 12".  €10 at Clignancourt, July, '19.

I have no idea how "tourte" (meat pie) figures here.  I gather he is asking what her costume represents and she is answering first "a La Fontaine fable."  Then to his silence she further responds "The Jay with Peacock Feathers."  Is she calling him a "dummy"?



1906  "Le Corbeau et le Renard."  A(chille) Lemot.  La Croix Illustrée 7th year, No 312, December 16, 1906.  10" x 14".  €10 at Clignancourt, July, '19.

Three panels at top and three at bottom present La Fontaine's fable, complete with his verses.  In the center, flanked by the two animals, is a panel of two humans.  Is that a fox on the right wheedling a vote out of an unsuspecting rustic on the left? 

1911 "Le Loup et l'Agneau (Fable de Veglione): Fascination."  A. Roubille.  Le Rire No. 428, April 15, 1911.  9" x 12".  €10 at Clignancourt, July, '19.

Is the wolf in pink about to devour the fascinated male lamb in gray? 

1913  "Le Grenouille et le Boeuf."  Jehan Testevuide.  Front cover.  Le Cri de Paris No. 849, May 4, 1913.  8¼" x 11¾".  €10 at Clignancourt, July, '19.

England holding its ships looks at the little frog and finds him blowing himself up with ships.  Is England even giving ships to the frog?  Is that the famed British fleet in the background?  A little online research suggests that Testevuide did several covers for "Le Cri de Paris."

1915  Caricature of two leaders in WWI, dramatized in La Fontaine's OF.  Ludovic Rezier.  Back cover of "Pays de France," January 14, 1915.  €12 from journauxanciens through Ebay, Feb.,' 23.

Some study has not helped me to identify these figures or even what happens between the final two.  The pattern follows La Fontaine's OF, but I am unsure how.  A military leader looks at Napoleon and -- following the fable -- thinks he is bigger.  Soon enough an opponent is inflating him.  Is it the left or the right figure that explodes in "colossal" fashion, blown up by Pan-Germanism's pump? 

1918  "Le Nouveau Jeu de Cartes."  Boret: Le Roi de Pain.  Cover of Le Rire Rouge, Édition de Guerre.  €10 at Clignancourt, July, '23.

I purchased this copy wondering if it was a parody on Florian's "Le Chateaux des Cartes."  I doubt that now.  But one never knows.....  Boret was the Minister of Food Control in the late days of World War I.  He is thus the "King of Bread." 


1922 "L'Europe et le Maitre d'École."  Uncle Sam as the Pedant lectures the drowning child that is Europe, quoting La Fontaine.  Front cover.  Le Cri de Paris No. 1305, April 2, 1922.  8¼" x 11¾".  €10 at Clignancourt, July, '19.

I take it that Uncle Sam is scolding Europe: "See where this stupidity has led.  Take care to avoid such companions."  I am unsure only about the reference here to companions.  Are the nations of Europe to withdraw from Europe?  And is this Uncle Sam Woodrow Wilson?


1922 "Renouvelé du Loup et de l'Agneau."  ("Repeat of WL").  Emile Lapellaro.  Les petits bonshommes, No. 29.  August 17, 1922.  €10 at Clignancourt, July, '23.

"The fat Monsieur, furious: 'Say, when have you finished sticking your feet under mine?"  This is the wolf accusing the lamb of muddying his water.  It fits perfectly!  He has been stepping on her feet the whole time. 


1927 "Le Renard & la Cigogne ou la participation Socialiste."  Franc Maconnerie?  Which journal unknown.  $8.24 from LeGrand Ythier, Ouzouer sur Loire, France, through Ebay, July, '20.

From what I can see, this delightful duochrome cartoon presents 1924 – in fact, May 11, 1924 – as a promise of great cooking together between the fox and the stork.  "Help me to make the meal, Goupil.  I'll leave you a nice little part."  I gather that is the voice of the fox Renard.  The pot is labeled "power."  Then in 1928, the fox makes off with the whole pot.  "One part, that is not enough.  I take it all."  In the meantime, what comes dribbling out of the stork's famous vase is "participation."  So "Socialist promises end up being totalitarian"? 


1927 French political cartoon.  April, '27.  "Le Loup et la Cigogne."  "Jupiter."  €9.99 from saintmichelfrance through Ebay, July, '20.

Here the "Lenine" Russian wolf, having gorged himself on the fat bourgeois of Russia, calls to his assistance his ally, the (English) stork.  The latter does her best to assist him, at the risk of getting strangled and devoured when he will have recovered. 


1932 French political cartoon.  Dec. 11, 1932.  "Le Corbeau et le Renard."  Signed "Tétras."  €9.99 from saintemariefrance through Ebay, July, '20.

In La Fontaine's fable, the flattering fox gets the crow to forget and release the cheese in his beak.  This time the crow with his cheese comes determined not to let that happen again.  The fox shows up but acts as though he sees nothing.  The angry crow finally shouts at him "Hey, fox, I'm here!"  He again loses his cheese. 


1932 French political cartoon.  Nov. 20, 1932.  L'Huitre & les Plaideurs."  €9.99 from saintemariefrance through Ebay, July, '20.

In La Fontaine's fable, the "judge" eats the oyster and gives half a shell each to the two men arguing over the oyster, since one saw it first and the other got there first.  Here the "litigants" go away angry, but the judge gets sick and has to keep running to the toilet.  Moral: theft and gluttony deserve punishment.