French Penchant for Irony – and the interchangability of the Other


La Revanche ou les francais au Missouri.

Paris: Martinet, 1829.

Caricature depicting a group of Native Americans exhibiting a group of French visitors on stage, from the French caricature journal, La Silhouette. The image borrows from Prichard’s History of Man, using images of the King George’s Sound Aborigines (Albany, Western Australia), who were originally depicted by de Sainson. The French swells onstage are having their bizarre fashions pointed out by a Native American chief with pointer to a group of seated Native Americans. In the foreground onstage is a young lady in pink gown with wonderfully exotic hairstyle, her hair bursting out from the sides of her head, and a tall fan and feather embellished headdress. Next to her stands a very tall man in green and gold embellished military uniform, and two other men in exaggerated costume. Signed ‘Granville’ (sic) lower left, and Lith de V. Ratier, No. 8 at the lower right. J.J. Grandville (1803-1847), was a French caricaturist much in demand for his politial satire; one of his greatest works was ‘Les Fleurs Animees’ a series of images of women costumed as beautiful plants. Hand colored lithograph, blind stamp “La Silhouette Album” at the lower edge, partially cropped. 10 1/4 x 8, very good condition. The satire makes reference to the group of six Osage Native Americans brought to Paris and exhibited to the public by Colonel David Delaunay in 1827. La Silhouette was published between 1829 and 1831, and founded by Honore de Balzac, Emile de Girardin Ratier and Victor Varaigne. The illustrations were by artists Henri Monnier, Charles Philipon, Grandville, Daumier, Deveria and Travies. British Museum Number 2006,U.209; OCLC: 459609546.

(thanks to 8/10/14)

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