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Gerard, Jean Ignace Isidore

GERARD, JEAN IGNACE ISIDORE (1803-1847), French caricaturist, generally known by the pseudonym of Grandville - the professional name of his grandparents, who were actors - was born at Nancy on the 13th of September 1803. He received his first instruction in drawing from his father, a miniature painter, and at the age of twenty-one came to Paris, where he soon afterwards published a collection of lithographs entitled Les Tribulations de la petite propriété. He followed this by Les Plaisirs de toutâge and La Sibylle des salons; but the work which first established his fame was Métamorphoses du jour, published in 1828, a series of seventy scenes in which individuals with the bodies of men and faces of animals are made to play a human comedy. These drawings are remarkable for the extraordinary skill with which human characteristics are represented in animal features. The success of this work led to his being engaged as artistic contributor to various periodicals, such as La Silhouette, L'Artiste, La Caricature, Le Charivari; and his political caricatures, which were characterized by marvellous fertility of satirical humour, soon came to enjoy a general popularity. Besides supplying illustrations for various standard works, such as the songs of Béranger, the fables of La Fontaine, Don Quixote, Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoe, he also continued the issue of various lithographic collections, among which may be mentioned La Vie privée et publique des animaux, Les Cent Proverbes, L'Autre Monde and Les Fleurs animées. Though the designs of Gérard are occasionally unnatural and absurd, they usually display keen analysis of character and marvellous inventive ingenuity, and his humour is always tempered and refined by delicacy of sentiment and a vein of sober thoughtfulness. He died of mental disease on the 17th of March 1847.

A short notice of Gérard, under the name of Grandville, is contained in Théophile Gautier's Portraits contemporains. See also Charles Blanc, Grandville (Paris, 1855).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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