1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Caricature
CARICATURE (Ital. caricatura, i.e. “ritratto ridicolo,” from caricare, to load, to charge; Fr. charge), a general term for the art of applying the grotesque to the purposes of satire, and for pictorial and plastic ridicule and burlesque. The word, “caricatura” was first used as English by Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682), in his Christian Morals, a posthumous work; it is next found, still in its Italian form, in No. 537 of the Spectator; it was adopted by Johnson in his dictionary (1757), but does not appear in Bailey’s dictionary, for example, as late as 1773; and it only assumed its modern guise towards the end of the 18th century, when its use and comprehension became general.
Little that is not conjectural can be written concerning caricature among the ancients. Few traces of the comic are discoverable in Egyptian art—such papyri of a satirical tendency as are known to exist appearing to belong rather to the class of ithyphallic drolleries than to that of the ironical grotesque. Among the Greeks, though but few and dubious data are extant, it seems possible that caricature may not have been altogether unknown. Their taste for pictorial parody, indeed, has been sufficiently proved by plentiful discoveries of pottery painted with burlesque subjects. Aristotle, moreover, who disapproved of grotesque art, condemns in strong terms the pictures of a certain Pauson, who, alluded to by Aristophanes, and the subject of one of Lucian’s anecdotes, is hailed by Champfleury as the doyen of caricaturists. That the grotesque in graphic art conceived in the true spirit of intentional caricature was practised by the Romans is evident from the curious frescoes uncovered at Pompeii and Herculaneum; from the mention in Pliny of certain painters celebrated for burlesque pictures; from the curious fantasies graven in gems and called Grylli; and from the number of ithyphallic caprices that have descended to modern times. But in spite of these evidences of Greek and Roman humour, in spite of the famous comic statuette of Caracalla, and of the more famous graffito of the Crucifixion, the caricaturists of the old world must be sought for, not among its painters and sculptors, but among its poets and dramatists. The comedies of Aristophanes and the epigrams of Martial were, to the Athens of Pericles and the Rome of Domitian, what the etchings of Gillray and the lithographs of Daumier were to the London of George III. and the Paris of the Citizen King.
During the middle ages a vast mass of grotesque material was accumulated, but selection becomes even more difficult than with the scarce relics of antiquity. With the building of the cathedrals originated a new style of art; a strange mixture of memories of paganism and Christian imaginings was called into being for the adornment of those great strongholds of urban Catholicism, and in this the coarse and brutal materialism of the popular humour found its largest and freest expression. On missal-marge and sign-board, on stall and entablature, in gargoyle and initial, the grotesque displayed itself in an infinite variety of forms. The import of this inextricable tangle of imagery, often obscene and horrible, often quaint and fantastic, is difficult, if not impossible, to determine. We recognize the prevalence of three great popular types or figures, each of which may be credited with a satirical intention—of Reynard the Fox, the hero of the famous medieval romance; of the Devil, that peculiarly medieval antithesis of God; and of Death, the sarcastic and irreverent skeleton. The popularity of the last is evidenced by the fact that no fewer than forty-three towns in England, France and Germany are enumerated as possessing sets of the Dance of Death, that grandiose all-levelling series of caprices in the contemplation of which the middle ages found so much consolation. It was reserved for Holbein (1498–1554), seizing the idea and resuming all that his contemporaries thought and felt on the subject, to produce, in his fifty-three magnificent designs of the Danse Macabre, the first and perhaps the greatest set of satirical moralities known to the modern world.
It is in the tumult of the Renaissance, indeed, that caricature in its modern sense may be said to have been born. The great popular movements required some such vehicle of comment or censure; the perfection to which the arts of design were attaining supplied the means; the invention of printing ensured its dissemination. The earliest genuine piece of graphic irony that has been discovered is a caricature (1499) relating to Louis XII. and his Italian war. But it was the Reformation that produced the first full crop of satirical ephemerae, and the heads of Luther and Alexander VI. are therefore the direct ancestors of the masks that smirk and frown from the “cartoons” of Punch and the Charivari. Fairly started by Lucas Cranach, a friend of Luther, in his Passionale of Christ and Antichrist (1521), caricature was naturalized in France under the League, but only to pass into the hands of the Dutch, who supplied the rest of Europe with satirical prints during the whole of the next century. A curious reaction is visible in the work of Pieter Breughel (1510–1570) towards the grotesque diablerie and macaberesque morality of medieval art, the last original and striking note of which is caught in the compositions of Jacques Callot (1593–1635), and, in a less degree, in those of his followers, Stefano della Bella (1610–1664) and Salvator Rosa (1615–1673). On the other hand, however, Callot, one of the greatest masters of the grotesque that ever lived, in certain of his Caprices, and in his two famous sets of prints, the Misères de la guerre, may be said to anticipate certain productions of Hogarth and Goya, and so to have founded the modern school of ironic genre.
In England one of the earliest caricatures extant is that in the margin of the Forest Roll of Essex, 5, ed. 1, now at the Record Office; it is a grotesque portrait of “Aaron fil Diabole” (Aaron, son of the devil), probably representing Cok, son of Aaron. It is dated 1277. Another caricature, undated, appears on a Roll containing an account of the tallages and fines paid by Jews, 17. Henry III., belonging to 1233 (Exch. of Receipt, Jews’ Roll, No. 8). It is an elaborate satirical design of Jews and devils, arranged in a pediment. During the 16th century, caricature can hardly be said to have existed at all,—a grotesque of Mary Stuart as a mermaid, a pen and ink sketch of which is yet to be seen in the Rolls Office, being the only example of it known. The Great Rebellion, however, acted as the Reformation had done in Germany, and Cavaliers and Roundheads caricatured each other freely. At this period satirical pictures usually did duty as the title-pages of scurrilous pamphlets; but one instance is known of the employment during the war of a grotesque allegory as a banner, while the end of the Commonwealth produced a satirical pack of playing cards, probably of Dutch origin. The Dutch, indeed, as already has been stated, were the great purveyors of pictorial satire at this time and during the early part of the next century. In England the wit of the victorious party was rather vocal than pictorial; in France the spirit of caricature was sternly repressed; and it was from Holland, bold in its republican freedom, and rich in painters and etchers, that issued the flood of prints and medals which illustrate, through cumbrous allegories and elaborate symbolization, the principal political passages of both the former countries, from the Restoration (1660) to the South Sea Bubble (1720). The most distinguished of the Dutch artists was Romain de Hooghe (1638–1720), a follower of Callot, who, without any of the weird power of his master, possessed a certain skill in grouping and faculty of grotesque suggestiveness that made his point a most useful weapon to William of Orange during the long struggle with Louis XIV.
The 18th century, however, may be called emphatically the age of caricature. The spirit is evident in letters as in art; in the fierce grotesques of Swift, in the coarser charges of Smollett, in the keen ironies of Henry Fielding, in the Aristophanic tendency of Foote’s farces, no less than in the masterly moralities of Hogarth and the truculent satires of Gillray. The first event that called forth caricatures in any number was the prosecution (1710) of Dr Sacheverell; most of these, however, were importations from Holland, and only in the excitement attendant on the South Sea Bubble, some ten years later, can the English school be said to have begun. Starting into active being with the ministry of Walpole (1721), it flourished under that statesman for some twenty years,—the “hieroglyphics,” as its prints were named, graphically enough, often circulating on fans. It continued to increase in importance and audacity till the reign of Pitt (1757–1761), when its activity was somewhat abated. It rose, however, to a greater height than ever during the rule of Bute (1761–1763), and since that time its influence has extended without a check. The artists whose combinations amused the public during this earlier period are, with few exceptions, but little known and not greatly esteemed. Among them were two amateurs, Dorothy, wife of Richard Boyle, 3rd earl of Burlington, and General George Townshend (afterwards 1st Marquess Townshend); Goupy, Boitard and Liotard were Frenchmen; Vandergucht and Vanderbank were Dutchmen. This period witnessed also the rise of William Hogarth (1697–1764). As a political caricaturist Hogarth was not successful, save in a few isolated examples, as in the portraits of Wilkes and Churchill; but as a moralist and social satirist he has not yet been equalled. The publication, in 1732, of his Modern Midnight Conversation may be said to mark an epoch in the history of caricature. Mention must also be made of Paul Sandby (1725–1809), who was not a professional caricaturist, though he joined in the pictorial hue-and-cry against Hogarth and Lord Bute, and who is best remembered as the founder of the English school of water-colour; and of John Collet (1723–1788), said to have been a pupil of Hogarth, a kindly and industrious humorist, rarely venturing into the arena of politics. During the latter half of the century, however, political caricature began to be somewhat more skilfully handled than of old by James Sayer, a satirist in the pay of the younger Pitt, while social grotesques were pleasantly treated by Henry William Bunbury (1750–1811) and George Moutard Woodward. These personalities, however, interesting as they are, are dwarfed into insignificance by the great figure of James Gillray (1757–1815), in whose hands political caricature became almost epic for grandeur of conception and far-reaching suggestiveness. It is to the works of this man of genius, indeed, and (in a less degree) to those of his contemporary, Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827), an artist of great and varied powers, that historians must turn for the popular reflection of all the political notabilia of the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. England may be said to have been the chosen home of caricature during this period. In France, timid and futile under the Monarchy, it had assumed an immense importance under the Revolution, and a cloud of hideous pictorial libels was the result; but even the Revolution left no such notes through its own artists, though Fragonard (1732–1806) himself was of the number, as came from the gravers of Gillray and Rowlandson. In Germany caricature did not exist. Only in Spain was there to be found an artist capable of entering into competition with the masters of the satirical grotesque of whom England could boast. The works of Francesco Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828) are described by Théophile Gautier as “a mixture of those of Rembrandt, Watteau, and the comical dreams of Rabelais,” and Champfleury discovers analogies between him and Honoré Daumier, the greatest caricaturist of modern France.
The satirical grotesque of the 18th century had been characterized by a sort of grandiose brutality, by a certain vigorous obscenity, by a violence of expression and intention, that appear monstrous in these days of reserve and restraint, but that doubtless sorted well enough with the strong party feelings and fierce political passions of the age. After the downfall of Napoleon (1815), however, when strife was over and men were weary and satisfied, a change in matter and manner came over the caricature of the period. In connection with this change, the name of George Cruikshank (1792–1878), an artist who stretches hands on the one side towards Hogarth and Gillray, and on the other towards Leech and Tenniel, deserves honourable mention. Those of Cruikshank’s political caricatures which were designed for the squibs of William Hone (1779–1842) are, comparatively speaking, uninteresting; his ambition was that of Hogarth—the production of “moral comedies.” Much of his work, therefore, may be said to form a link in the chain of development through which has passed that ironical genre to which reference has already been made. In 1829, however, began to appear the famous series of lithographs, signed H.B., the work of John Doyle (1798–1868). These jocularities are interesting otherwise than politically; thin and weakly as they are, they inaugurated the style of later political caricature. In France, meanwhile, with the farcical designs of Edme Jean Pigal (b. 1794) and the realistic sketches of Henri Monnier (1805–1872), the admirable portrait-busts of Jean Pierre Dantan the younger (1800–1869) and the fine military and low-life drolleries of Nicolas Toussaint Charlet (1792–1845) were appearing. Up to this date, though journalism and caricature had sometimes joined hands (as in the case of the Craftsman and the Anti-Jacobin, and particularly in Les Révolutions de France et de Brabant and Les Actes des Apôtres), the alliance had been but brief; it was reserved for Charles Philipon (1802–1862), who may be called the father of comic journalism, to make it lasting. The foundation of La Caricature, by Philipon in 1831, suppressed in 1835 after a brief but glorious career, was followed by Le Charivari (December 1832), which is perhaps the most renowned of the innumerable enterprises of this extraordinary man. Among the artists he assembled round him, the highest place is held by Honoré Daumier (1808–1879), a draughtsman of great skill, and a caricaturist of immense vigour and audacity. Another of Philipon’s band was Sulpice Paul Chevalier (1801–1866), better known as Gavarni, in whose hands modern social caricature, advanced by Cruikshank and Charlet, assumed its present guise and became elegant. Mention must also be made of Grandville (J. I. I. Gérard) (1803–1847), the illustrator of La Fontaine, and a modern patron of the medieval skeleton; of Charles Joseph Traviès de Villers, the father of the famous hunchback “Mayeux”; and of Amedée de Noé, or “Cham,” the wittiest and most ephemeral of pictorial satirists. In 1840 the pleasantries of “H.B.” having come to an end, there was founded, in imitation of this enterprise of Philipon, the comic journal which, under the title of Punch, or the London Charivari, has since become famous all over the world. Among its early illustrators were John Leech (1817–1864) and Richard Doyle (1824–1883), whose drawings were full of the richest grotesque humour.
In 1862 Carlo Pellegrini, in Vanity Fair, began a series of portraits of public men, which may be considered the most remarkable instances of personal caricature in England.
For the later developments of caricature, it is convenient to take them by countries in the following sections:—
Great Britain.—During the later 19th century the term caricature, somewhat loosely used at all times, came gradually to cover almost every form of humorous art, from the pictorial wit and wisdom of Sir John Tenniel to the weird grotesques of Mr S. H. Sime, from the gay pleasantries of Randolph Caldecott to the graceful but sedate fancies of Mr Walter Crane. It is made to embrace alike the social studies, satirical and sympathetic, of Du Maurier and Keene, the political cartoons of Mr Harry Furniss and Sir F. C. Gould, the unextenuating likenesses of “Ape,” and “Spy,” and “Max,” the subtle conceits of Mr Linley Sambourne, the whimsicalities of Mr E. T. Reed, the exuberant burlesques of Mr J. F. Sullivan, the frank buffooneries of W.G. Baxter, Of these diverse forms of graphic humour, some have no other object than to amuse, and therefore do not call for serious notice. The work of Mr Max Beerbohm (“Max”) has the note of originality and extravagance too; while that of “Spy” (Mr Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, if it does not rival the occasional brilliancy of his predecessor “Ape” (Carlo Pellegrini, 1839–1889), maintains a higher average of merit. The pupil, too, is much more genial than the master, and he is content if his pencil evokes the comment, “How ridiculously like!” Caricature of this kind is merely an entertainment. Here we are concerned rather with those branches of caricature which, merrily or mordantly, reflect and comment upon the actual life we live. In treating of recent caricature of this kind, we must give the first place to Punch. Mr Punch’s outlook upon life has not changed much since the ’seventies of the last century. His influence upon the tone of caricature made itself felt most appreciably in the days of John Leech and Richard Doyle. Their successors but follow in their steps. In their work, says a clever German critic, is to be found no vestige of the “sour bilious temper of John Bull” that pervaded the pictures of Hogarth and Rowlandson. Charles Keene (1823–1891) and Du Maurier (1834–1896), he declares, are not caricaturists or satirists, but amiable and tenderly grave observers of life, friendly optimists. The characterization is truer of Keene, perhaps, than of Du Maurier. Charles Keene’s sketches are almost always cheerful; almost without exception they make you smile or laugh. In many of Du Maurier’s, on the other hand, there is an underlying seriousness. While Keene looks on at life with easy tolerance, an amused spectator, Du Maurier shows himself sensitive, emotional, sympathetic, taking infinite delight in what is pretty and gay and charming, but hurt and offended by the sordid and the ugly. Thus while Keene takes things dispassionately as they come, seeing only the humorous side of them, we find Du Maurier ever and anon attacking some new phase of snobbishness or philistinism or cant. For all his kindliness in depicting congenial scenes, he is at times as unrelenting a satirist as Rowlandson. The other Punch artists, whose work is in the same field, resemble Keene in this respect rather than Du Maurier. Mr Leonard Raven-Hill recalls Charles Keene not merely in temperament but in technique; like Keene, too, he finds his subjects principally in bourgeois life. Mr J. Bernard Partridge, though, like Du Maurier, he has an eye for physical beauty, is a spectator rather than a critic of life, yet he has made his mark as a “cartoonist.” Phil May (d. 1903), a modern Touchstone, is less easily classified. Though he wears the cap and bells, he is alive to the pity of things; he sees the pathos no less than the humour of his street-boys and “gutter-snipes.” He is, however, a jester primarily: an artist, too, of high achievement. Two others stand out as masters of the art of social caricature—Frederick Barnard and Mr J. F. Sullivan. Barnard’s illustrations to Dickens, like his original sketches, have a lively humour—the humour of irrepressible high spirits—and endless invention. High spirits and invention are characteristics also of Mr Sullivan. It is at the British artisan and petty tradesman—at the grocer given to adulteration and the plumber who outstays his welcome—that he aims his most boisterous fun. He rebels, too, delightfully, against red tape and all the petty tyrannies of officialdom. In political caricature Sir John Tenniel (q.v.) remained the leading artist of his day. The death of Abraham Lincoln, Bismarck’s fall from power, the tragedy of Khartum—to subjects such as these, worthy of a great painter, Tenniel has brought a classic simplicity and a sense of dignity unknown previously to caricature. It is hard to say in which field Tenniel most excels—whether in those ingenious parables in which the British Lion and the Russian Bear, John Chinaman, Jacques Bonhomme and Uncle Sam play their part—or in the ever-changing scenes of the great parliamentary Comedy—or in sombre dramas of Anarchy, Famine or Crime—or in those London extravaganzas in which the symbolic personalities of Gog and Magog, Father Thames and the Fog Fiend, the duke of Mudford and Mr Punch himself, have become familiar. Subjects similar to these have been treated also for many years by Mr Linley Sambourne in his fanciful and often beautiful designs. In the field of humorous portraiture also, as in cartoon-designing, Mr Sambourne has made his mark, and he may be said almost to have originated, in a small way, that practice of illustrating the doings of parliament with comic sketches in which Mr Furniss, Mr E. T. Reed and Sir F. C. Gould were his most notable successors. Mr Furniss satirized the Royal Academy as effectively as the Houses of Parliament, but he has been above all the illustrator of parliament—the creator of Mr Gladstone’s collars, the thief of Lord Randolph Churchill’s inches, the immortalizer of so many otherwise obscure politicians who has worked the House of Commons and its doings into so many hundreds of eccentric designs. But Mr Furniss was never, like Sir F. C. Gould (of the Westminster Gazette), a politician first and a caricaturist afterwards. Gould is an avowed partisan, and his caricatures became the most formidable weapons of the Radical party. Caustic, witty and telling, not specially well drawn, but drawn well enough—the likenesses unfailingly caught and recognizable at a glance—his “Picture Politics” won him a place unique in the ranks of caricaturists. There is no evidence of such strenuousness in the work of Mr E. T. Read (of Punch). In his parliamentary sketches, as in his “Animal Land” and “Prehistoric Peeps,” Mr Reed is a wholly irresponsible humorist and parodist. One finds keen satire, however, in those “Ready-made Coats of Arms,” in which he turned at once his heraldic lore and his insight into character to excellent account. In his more serious picture in which he has drawn a parallel between the tricoteuses awaiting with grim enjoyment the fall of the guillotine and those modern English gentlewomen who flock to the Old Bailey as to the play, we have the true Hogarthian touch. Mr Gunning King, Mr F. H. Townshend, Mr C. E. Brock, Mr Tom Browne, are among the younger humorists who have advanced to the front rank. Though there have been some notable competitors with Punch, there has never been a really “good second.” In Matt Morgan the Tomahawk (1865–1867) could boast an original cartoonist after Tenniel’s style, but without Tenniel’s power and humour. Morgan’s Tomahawk cartoons gained in effect from an ingenious method of printing in two colours. In Fred Barnard, W. G. Baxter, and Mr J. F. Sullivan, Judy (founded in 1867) possessed a trio of pictorial humorists of the first rank, and in W. Bowcher a political cartoonist thoroughly to the taste of those hot and strong Conservatives to whom Punch’s faint Whiggery was but Radicalism in disguise. His successor, Mr William Parkinson, was not less loyal to Tory ideas, though more urbane in his methods. Fun has had cartoonists of high merit in Mr Gordon Thomson and in Mr John Proctor, who worked also for Moonshine (founded in 1879, now extinct). Moonshine afterwards enlisted the services of Alfred Bryan, to whose clever pencil the Christmas number of the World was indebted for many years. Ally Sloper, founded in 1884, is notable only as the widely circulated medium for W. G. Baxter’s wild humours, kept up in the same spirit by Mr W. F. Thomas, his successor. Pick-me-up could once count a staff which rivalled at least the social side of Punch; Mr Raven-Hill, Phil May, Mr Maurice Greiffenhagen and Mr Dudley Hardy all contributed in their time to its sprightly pages, while Mr S. H. Sime made it the vehicle for his “squint-brained” imaginings. The Will o’ the Wisp, the Butterfly and the Unicorn, kindred ventures, though on different lines, all met with an early death. Lika Joko, founded in 1894 by Mr Harry Furniss, who in that year abandoned Punch, and afterwards Fair Game, were also short-lived. To this brief list of purely comic or satirical journals should be added the names of several daily and weekly publications—and among monthlies the Idler, with its caricatures by Mr Scott Rankin, Mr Sime and Mr Beerbohm—which have made a special feature of humorous art. Among these are the Graphic, whose Christmas numbers were first brightened by Randolph Caldecott; the Daily Graphic, enlivened sometimes by Phil May and Mr A. S. Boyd; Vanity Fair, with its grotesque portraits; Truth, to whose Christmas numbers Sir F. C. Gould contributed some of his best and most ambitious work, printed in colours; the Sketch, with Phil May and others; Black and White, with Mr Henry Meyer; the Pall Mall Gazette, first with Sir F. C. Gould, and later with Mr G. R. Halkett. The St Stephen’s Review, whose crudely powerful cartoons, the work of Tom Merry, were so popular, ceased publication in 1892. A tribute should be paid in conclusion to the coloured cartoons of the Weekly Freeman and other Irish papers, often remarkable for their humour and talent. (See also Cartoon and Illustration.)
France.—In that peculiar branch of art which is based on irony, fun, oddity and wit, and in which Honoré Daumier (1808–1879), next to “Gavarni” (1804–1866), remains the undisputed master, France—as has already been shown—can produce an unbroken series of draughtsmen of strong individuality. Though “Cham” died in 1879, Eugène Giraud in 1881, “Randon” in 1884, “André Gill” in 1885, “Marcelin” in 1887, Edouard de Beaumont in 1888, Lami in 1891, Alfred Grévin in 1892, and “Stop” in 1899, a new group arose under the leadership of “Nadar” (b. 1820) and Etienne Carjat (b. 1828). Mirthful or satirical, and less philosophical than of yore, neglecting history for incident, and humanity for the puppets of the day, their drawings, which illustrate daily events, will perpetuate the manner and anecdotes of the time, though the illustrations to newspapers, or prints which need a paragraph of explanation, show nothing to compare with the Propos de Thomas Virelocque by “Gavarni.” Quantity perhaps makes up for quality, and some of these artists deserve special mention. “Draner” (b. 1833) and “Henriot” (b. 1857) are journalists, carrying on the method first introduced by “Cham” in the Univers Illustré: realistic sketches, with no purpose beyond the droll illustration of facts, amusing at the time, but of no value to the print-collector. M. J. L. Forain, born at Reims in 1852, studied at the École des Beaux Arts under Jean Léon Gérôme and J. B. Carpeaux. He first worked for the Courrier Français in 1887, and afterwards for Figaro; he was then drawn into the polemical work of politics. Though he has created some great types of flunkeydom, the explanatory story is more to him than the picture, which is often too sketchy, though masterly. Reduced reproductions of his work have been issued in volumes, a common form of popularity never attempted with Daumier’s fine lithographs. M. A. L. Willette, born at Châlons-sur-Marne in 1857, a son of Colonel Willette, the aide-de-camp to Marshal Bazaine, worked for four years in Alexandre Cabanel’s studio, and so gained an artistic training which alone would have distinguished him from his fellows, even without the delightful poetical fancy and Watteau-like grace which are somewhat unexpected amid the ugliness of modern life. His work has the value, no doubt, of deep and various meaning, but it has also intrinsic artistic worth. M. Willette is, in fact, the ideal delineator of the more voluptuous and highly spiced aspects of contemporary life. “Caran d’Ache,” a native of Moscow, born in 1858, borrowed from the German caricaturists—mainly from W. Busch—his methods of illustrating “a story without words.” He makes fun even of animals, and is a master of canine physiognomy. His simple and unerring outline is a method peculiarly his own; now and again his wit rises to grandiloquence, as in his Bellona, rushing on an automobile through massacre and conflagrations, and in his Épopée (Epic) of shadows thrown on a sheet. Among his followers may be included A. Guillaume and Gerbault. M. C. L. Léandre, born at Champsecret (Orne), in 1862, is, like “André Gill,” a draughtsman of monstrosities; he can get a perfect likeness of a face while exaggerating some particular feature, gives his figure a hump-back, as Dantan did in his statuettes, and has a facial dexterity which sometimes does scant justice to his very original wit. At the same time he has a true sense of beauty. M. Théophile A. Steinlen, born at Lausanne in 1859, went to Paris in 1881. He should be studied in his illustrations to Bruant. He knows the inmost core of the Butte-Montmartre, and depicts it with realistic and brutal relish. M. Albert Robida, born at Compiègne in 1848, collaborated with Decaux in 1871 to found La Caricature; he is a paradoxical seer of the possible future and a curiosity-hunter of the past. Old Paris has no secrets from him; he knows all the old stones and costumes of the middle ages, and has illustrated Rabelais; and for fertility of fancy he reminds us of Gustave Doré, but with a sense of movement so vibrant as to be almost distressing. “Bac,” born at Vienna in 1859, has infused a strain of the Austrian woman into the Parisienne; representing her merely as a pleasure- and love-seeking creature, as the toy of an evening, he has recorded her peccadilloes, her witcheries and her vices. Others who have shot folly as it flies are M. Albert Guillaume, who illustrated the Exhibition of 1900 in a series of remarkable silhouettes; “Mars”; “Henri Somm”; Gerbault; and Grün. M. Huard depicts to perfection the country townsfolk in their elementary psychology. M. Hermann Paul, M. Forain’s not unworthy successor on the Figaro, is a cruel satirist, who in a single face can epitomize a whole class of society, and could catalogue the actors of the comédie humaine in a series of drawings. M. Jean Veber loves fantastic subjects, the gnomes of fairy-tales and myths; but he has a biting irony for contemporary history, as in the Butcher’s Shop, where Bismarck is the blood-stained butcher. M. Abel Faivre, a refined and charming painter, is a whimiscal humorist with the pencil. He shows us monstrous women, fabulously hideous, drawing them with a sort of realism which is droll by sheer ugliness. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec startles us by extraordinary dislocations, scrawled limbs and inexplicable anatomy; he has left an inimitable series of sketches of Mme Yvette Guilbert when she was at her thinnest. M. Felix Vallotton reproduces crows in blots of black with a Japanese use of the brush. M. G. Jeanniot, a notable illustrator, sometimes amuses himself by contributing to Le Rire, Le Sourire, Le Pompon, L’Assiette au Beurre, &c., drawing the two types he most affects: the fashionable world and soldiers. M. Ibels, Capiello and many more might be enumerated, but it is impossible to chronicle all the clever humorous artists of the illustrated papers.
It is the frequent habit of French caricaturists to employ a nom-de-guerre. We therefore give here a list of the genuine names represented by the pseudonyms used above, together with others familiar to the public:—
|“André Gill”||= L. A. Gosset de Guine (1840–1885).|
|“Bac” (“Cab” and “Saro”)||= Ferdinand Bach (b. 1859).|
|“Caran d’Ache”||= Emmanuel Poiré.|
|“Cham”||= Comte Amédée de Noé (b. 1818).|
|“Crafty”||= Victor Gérusez (b. 1840).|
|“Draner” (and “Paf”)||= Jules Renard (b. 1833).|
|“Faustin”||= Faustin Betbeder (b. 1847).|
|“Gavarni”||= S. G. Chevalier (1804–1866).|
|“Gédéon”||= Gédéon Baril (b. 1832).|
|“Grandville”||= J. I. I. Gérard (1803–1847).|
|“Henriot” (and “Piff”)||= Henri Maigrot (b. 1857).|
|“Henri Somm”||= Henri Sommier (b. 1844).|
|“Job”||= J. O. de Bréville (b. 1858).|
|“Marcelin”||= Émile Planat (1825–1887).|
|“Mars”||= Maurice Bonvoisin (b. 1849).|
|“Moloch”||= Colomb (b. 1849).|
|“Montbard”||= C. A. Loye (1841–1905).|
|“Nadar”||= Félix Tournachon (b. 1820).|
|“Pasquin”||= Georges Coutan (b. 1853).|
|“Pépin”||= Ed. Guillaume (b. 1842).|
|“Randon”||= Gilbert (1814–1845).|
|“Sahib”||= L. E. Lesage (b. 1847).|
|“Said”||= Alphonse Lévy (b. 1845).|
|“Sem”||= George Goursat.|
|“Stop”||= L. P. Morel-Retz (b. 1825).|
Germany.—During the later 19th century German caricature flourished principally in the comic papers Kladderadatsch of Berlin and Fliegende Blätter of Munich; the former a political paper with little artistic value, in which the ideas alone are clever, whilst the illustrations are merely a more or less clumsy adjunct to the text, while the Fliegende Blätter, on the contrary, has artistic merit as well as wit. Wilhelm Busch (b. 1832), the most brilliant German draughtsman of the last generation, made his dêbut with an illustrated poem “The Peasant and the Miller,” and won a world-wide reputation with the following works: Pater Filucius, Die Fromme Helene, Max und Moritz, Der heilige Antonius, Maler Kleksel, Balduin Bählamm, Die Erlebnisse Knopps des Junggesellen. Busch stands alone among the caricaturists of his nation, inasmuch as he is both the author and the illustrator of these works, his witty doggerel supplying Germany with household words. The drawings that accompany the text are amazing for the skill and directness with which he hits the vital mark. A flourish or two and a few touches are enough to set before us figures of intensely comical aspect. This distinguishes Busch from Adolf Oberländer (1845), who became the chief draughtsman on Fliegende Blätter. Busch’s drawings would have no meaning apart from the humorous words. Oberländer works with the pencil only. Men, animals, trees, objects, are endowed by him with a mysterious life of their own. Without the help of any verbal joke, he achieves the funniest results simply by seeing and accentuating the comical side of everything. His drawings are caricature in the strict sense of the word, its principle being the exaggeration of some natural characteristic. The new generation of contributors to Fliegende Blätter do not work on these lines. Busch and Oberländer were both offshoots of the romantic school; they made fun of modern novelties. Hermann Schlittgen, Meggendorfer, H. Vogel-Plauen, Réne Reinicke, Adolf Hengeler and Fritz Wahle are the sons of a self-satisfied time, triumphing in its own chic, elegance and grace; hence they do not parody what they see, but simply depict it. The wit lies exclusively in the text; the illustrations aim merely at a direct representation of street or drawing-room scenes. It is this which gives to Fliegende Blätter its value as a pictorial record of the history of German manners. Its pages are a permanent authority on the subject for those who desire to see the social aspects of Germany during the last quarter of the 19th century onwards. At the same time a falling-off in the brilliancy of this periodical was perceptible. Its fun became domestic and homely; it has faithfully adhered to the old technique of wood-engraving, and made no effort to keep pace with the modern methods of reproduction. German caricature, to live and flourish, was not keeping pace with the development of the art; it had to take into its service the gay effects of colour, and derive fresh inspiration from the sweeping lines of the ornamental draughtsman. This led to the appearance of three new weekly papers: Jugend, Das Narrenschiff and Simplicissimus. Jugend, started in 1896 by Georg Hirth in Munich, collected from the first a group of gifted young artists, more especially Thöny, Bernhard Pankok and Julius Diez, who based their style on old German wood-engraving; Fidus, who lavished the utmost beauty of line in unshaded pen-and-ink work; Rudolf Wilke, whose grotesques have much in common with Forain’s clever drawings; Angelo Jank and R. M. Eichler, who work with a delightful bonhomie. Among the draughtsmen on the Narrenschiff (The Ship of Fools), Hans Baluschek is worthy of mention as having made the types of Berlin life all his own; and while this paper gives us for the most part inoffensive satire on society, Simplicissimus, first printed at Munich and then at Zurich, under the editorship of Albert Langen, shows a marked Socialist and indeed Anarchist tendency, subjecting to ridicule and mockery everything that has hitherto been held as unassailable by such weapons; it reminds us of the scathing satire of Honoré Daumier in La Caricature at the time of Louis Philippe. Thomas Theodor Heine (1867) is unsurpassed in this style for his power of expression and variety of technique. We must admire his delicate draughtsmanship, or again, his drawing of the figure with the heavy line of heraldic ornament, and his broad and monumental grasp of the grotesque. His laughter is often insolent, but he is more often the preacher, scourge in hand, who ruthlessly unveils all the dark side of life. Next to him come Paul, an incomparable limner of student life and the manners and customs of the Bavarian populace; E. Thöny, a wonderfully clever caricaturist of the airs and assumption of the Prussian Junker and the Prussian subaltern; J. C. Eugh and F. von Regnieck, who make fun of the townsman and political spouter in biting and searching satire. The standard of caricature is at the present time a high one in Germany; indeed, the modern adoption of the pen-line, which has arisen since the impressionists in oil-painting repudiated line, had its origin in the influence of caricature.
United States.—The proverbial irreverence of the American mind even towards its most cherished personages and ideals has made it particularly responsive to the appeal of caricature. At first an importation, it developed but slowly; then it burst into luxuriant growth, sometimes exceeding the limits of wise and careful cultivation. In the early period of American caricature, almost the only native is F. O. C. Darley (1822–1888), an illustrator of some importance; the other names include the engraver Paul Revere (chiefly famous for a picturesque exploit in the War of Independence); a Scotsman, William Charles; the Englishmen, Matt Morgan and E. P. Bellew; and the Germans, Thomas Nast and Joseph Keppler.
The name of Thomas Nast overshadows and sums up American political caricature. Nast, who was born in Bavaria in 1840, was brought to America at the age of six; and his training and all his interests were strongly American. At fourteen he was an illustrator on Leslie’s Weekly, and was sent at twenty to England to illustrate the famous Sayers-Heenan prize-fight. He then went as recorder of Garibaldi’s campaign of 1860. He returned to America known only as an illustrator. The Civil War did not awaken his latent genius till 1864, when he published a cartoon of fierce irony against the political party which opposed Lincoln’s re-election and advocated peace measures with the Southern confederacy. This cartoon not only made Nast famous, but may be said to contain the germ of American caricature; for all that had gone before was too crude in technique to pass muster even as good caricature.
The magnificent corruption of Tammany Hall under the leadership of William M. Tweed, the first of the great municipal “bosses,” gave Nast a subject worth attacking. Siegfried, earnest but light-hearted, armed with the mightier sword of the pen of ridicule, assailed the monster ensconced in his treasure-cave, and after a long battle won a brilliant victory. Nast did not always rely on a mere picture to carry his thrust; often his cartoon consisted of only a minor figure or two looking at a large placard on which a long and poignantly-worded attack was delivered in cold type. At other times the most ingenious pictorial subtlety was displayed. This long series sounds almost the whole gamut of caricature, from downright ridicule to the most lofty denunciation. A very happy device was the representation of Tweed’s face by a money-bag with only dollar marks for features, a device which, strangely enough, made a curiously faithful likeness of the “boodle”-loving despot. When, finally, Tweed took to flight, to escape imprisonment, he was recognized and caught, it is said, entirely through the wide familiarity given to his image in Nast’s cartoons.
When Nast retired from Harper’s Weekly, he was succeeded by Charles Green Bush (born 1842; died 1909). With even greater technical resources, he poured forth a series of cartoons of remarkable evenness of skill and interest; he soon left weekly for daily journalism. He never won, single-handed, such a battle as Nast’s, but his drawings have a more general, perhaps a more lasting interest. When he left Harper’s Weekly he was succeeded by W. A. Rogers, who composed many ingenious and telling cartoons.
The vogue which, through Nast, Harper’s Weekly gave to caricature, prepared the way for the first purely comic weekly paper, Puck, founded by two Germans, and for long published in a German as well as an English edition—a journal which has cast its influence generally in favour of the Democratic party. It is worth noting that not only the founders but the spirit of American caricature have been rather German than English, the American comic papers more closely resembling Fliegende Blätter, for example, than Punch. One of the founders of Puck was Joseph Keppler (1838–1894), long its chief caricaturist.
The Republican party soon found a champion in Judge, a weekly satirical paper which resembles Puck closely in its crudely coloured pages, though somewhat broader and less ambitious in the spirit and execution of its black-and-white illustrations. These two papers have kept rather strictly to permanent staffs, and have furnished the opening for many popular draughtsmen, such as Bernhard Gillam (d. 1896), and his brother, Victor; J. A. Wales (d. 1886); E. Zimmerman, whose extremely plebeian and broadly treated types often obscure the observation and Falstaffian humour displayed in them; Grant Hamilton; Frederick Opper, for many years devoted to the trials of suburban existence, and later concerned in combating the trusts; C. J. Taylor, a graceful technician; H. Smith; Frank A. Nankivell, whose pretty athletic girls are prone to attitudinizing; J. Mortimer Flagg; F. M. Howarth; Mrs Frances O’Neill Latham, whose personages are singularly well modelled and alive; and Miss Baker Baker, a skilful draughtswoman of animals.
A stimulus to genuine art in caricature was given by the establishment (1883) of the weekly Life, edited by J. A. Mitchell, a clever draughtsman as well as an original writer. It is to this paper that America owes the discovery and encouragement of its most remarkable artist humorist, Charles Dana Gibson, whose technique has developed through many interesting phases from exceeding delicacy to a sculpturesque boldness of line without losing its rich texture, and without becoming monotonous. Mr Gibson is chiefly beloved by his public for his almost idolatrous realizations of the beautiful American woman of various types, ages and environments. His works are, however, full of the most subtle character-observations, and American men of all walks of life, and foreigners of every type, impart as much importance and humour to his pages as his “Gibson girls” give radiance. His admitted devotion to Du Maurier, in reverence for the beautiful woman beautifully attired, has led some critics to set him down as a mere disciple, while his powerful individuality has led others to accuse him of monotony; but a serious examination of his work has seemed to reveal that he has gone beyond the genius of Du Maurier in sophistication, if not in variety, of subjects and treatment. As much as any other artist Mr Gibson has studiously tried new experiments in the new fields opened by modernized processes of photo-engraving, and has been an important influence in both English and American line-illustration.
Among other students of society, particular success has been achieved by C. S. Reinhart (1844–1896), Charles Howard Johnson (d. 1895), H. W. M‘Vickar, S. W. van Schaick, A. E. Sterner, W. H. Hyde, W. T. Smedley and A. B. Wenzell, each of them strongly individual in manner and often full of verve and truth.
Life, and other comic papers, including for many years Truth, also brought forward caricaturists of distinct worth and a marked tendency to specialization. F. E. Atwood (d. 1900) was ingenious in cartoons lightly allegorical; Oliver Herford has shown a fascination elusive of analysis in his drawings as in his verse; T. S. Sullivant has made a quaintly intellectual application of the old-world devices of large heads, small bodies, and the like; Peter Newell has developed individuality both in treatment and in humour; E. W. Kemble is noteworthy among the exploiters of negro life; and H. B. Eddy, Augustus Dirk, Robert L. Wagner, A. Anderson, F. Sarka and J. Swinnerton have all displayed marked individuality.
In distinction from the earlier period, the modern school of American caricature is strongly national, not only in subject, but in origin, training and in mental attitude, exception being made of a few notable figures, such as Michael Angelo Woolf, born in England, and of a somewhat Cruikshankian technique. He came to America while young, and contributed a long series of what may be called slum-fantasies, instinct alike with laughter and sorrow, at times strangely combining extravagant melodrama with a most plausible and convincing impossibility. His drawings must always lie very close to the affections of the large audience that welcomed them. American also by adoption is Henry Mayer, a German by birth, who has contributed to many of the chief comic papers of France, England, Germany and America.
Entirely native in every way is the art of A. B. Frost (b. 1851), a prominent humorist who deals with the life of the common people. His caricature (he is also an illustrator of versatility and importance) is distinguished by its anatomical knowledge, or, rather, anatomical imagination. Violent as the action of his figures frequently is, it is always convincing. Such triumphs as the tragedy of the kind-hearted man and the ungrateful bull-calf; the spinster’s cat that ate rat poison, and many others, force the most serious to laughter by their amazing velocity of action and their unctuousness of expression. Frost is to American caricature what “Artemus Ward” has been to American humour, and his field of publication has been chiefly the monthly magazine.
The influence of the weekly periodicals has been briefly traced. A later development was the entrance of the omnivorous daily newspaper into the field of both the magazine and the weekly. For many years almost every newspaper has printed its daily cartoon, generally of a political nature. Few of the cartoonists have been able to keep up the pace of a daily inspiration, but C. G. Bush has been unusually successful in the attempt. Yet an occasional success atones for many slips, and the cartoonists are known and eagerly watched. The most influential has doubtless been Homer C. Davenport, whose slender artistic resources have been eked out by a vigour and mercilessness of assault rare even in American annals. He has a Rabelaisian complacency and skill in making a portrait magnificently repulsive, and his caricatures are a vivid example of the school of cartoonists who believe in slashing rather than merely prodding or tickling the object of attack. Charles Nelan (1859–1904) frequently scored, and in the wide extent of the United States one finds keen wits busily assailing the manifold evils of life. Noteworthy among them are: Thos. E. Powers, H. R. Heaton, Albert Levering, Clare Angell and R. C. Swayne.
Scandinavia.—Caricature flourishes also in the Scandinavian countries, but few names are known beyond their borders. Professor Hans Tegner of Denmark is an exception; his illustrations to Hans Andersen (English edition, 1900) have carried his name wherever that author is appreciated, yet his reputation was made in the Danish Punch, which was founded after the year 1870 but has long ceased to exist. Alfred Schmidt and Axel Thiess have contributed notable sketches to Puk and its successor Klockhaus, but in point of style they scarcely carry on the tradition of their predecessor, Fritz Jürgensen. Among humorous artists of Norway, Th. Kittelsen perhaps holds the leading place, and in Sweden, Bruno Liljefors, best known as a brilliant painter of bird life.
Bibliography.—Rules for Drawing Caricature, with an Essay on Comic Painting, by Francis Grose (8vo, London, 1788); Historical Sketch of the Art of Caricaturing, by J. Peller Malcolm (4to, London, 1813); History of Caricature and Grotesque in Literature and Art, by Thomas Wright (8vo, London, 1865); Musée de la caricature, by Jaime; (a) Histoire de la caricature antique; (b) Histoire de la caricature au moyen âge et sous la renaissance; (c) Histoire de la caricature sous la réforme et la ligue; (d) Histoire de la caricature sous la république, l’empire, et la restauration; (e) Histoire de la caricature moderne (5 vols.), by Champfleury (i.e. Jules Fleury), (8vo, Paris); Le Musée secret de la caricature, by Champfleury (i.e. Jules Fleury), (8vo, Paris); L’Art du rire et de la caricature, by Arsène Alexandre (8vo, Paris); Caricature and other Comic Art, by James Parton (sm. 4to, New York, 1878); Le Miroir de la vie: la Caricature, by Robert de la Sizeranne (8vo, Paris, 1902), (tracing the aesthetic development of the art and spirit of caricature); La Caricature à travers les siècles, by Georges Veyrat (4to, Paris); La Caricature et les caricaturistes, by Émile Bagaud (with a preface by Ch. Léandre), (fo., Paris); Le Rire et la caricature, by Paul Gaultier (with a preface by Sully Prudhomme), (8vo, Paris, 1906), (a work of originality, dwelling not only on the aesthetic but on the essentially pessimistic side of satiric art); English Caricaturists and Graphic Humorists of the Nineteenth Century, by Graham Everitt (i.e. William Rodgers Richardson), (4to, London, 1886), (a careful and interesting survey); La Caricature en Angleterre, by Augustin Filva (8vo, Paris, 1902), (an able criticism from the point of view of psycho-sociology); The History of Punch, by M. H. Spielmann (8vo, London, 1895), (dealing with caricature art of England during the half-century covered by the book); Magazine of Art, passim, for biographies of English caricaturists—“Our Graphic Humorists”; Social Pictorial Satire, by George du Maurier (12mo, London, 1898); Les Mœurs et la caricature en France, by J. Grand-Carteret (8vo, Paris, 1885); La Caricature et l’humeur français au XIX e siècle, by Raoul Deberdt (8vo, Paris); Les Maîtres de la caricature française en XIX e siècle, by Armand Dayot (Paris); Nos humoristes, by Ad. Brisson (4to, Paris, 1900); Les Mœurs et la caricature en Allemagne, &c., by J. Grand-Carteret (8vo, Paris, 1885). See also biographies of Charles Keene, H. Daumier, John Leech, &c., indicated under those names. (M. H. S.)