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Print Collection 12: Prints, Popular Art, Images d'Epinal

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Le Bon Français travaille pour nos soldats, Guy Arnoux

The nationalistic spirit of war provoked a return to a traditional style of printing in France. Artists like Guy Arnoux and Pierre Abadie-Landel began producing art prints in the spirit of images d'Épinal — a simple, folkloric style suffused with familiarity. Originally conceived in 1796 by Jean-Charles Pellerin in his native village of Épinal (Vosges), the images d'Épinal were inexpensive woodcuts and lithographs of religious and historical content intended for the common consumer. During the Napoleonic wars, these images became extremely popular as Pellerin's printing house, Imagerie d'Épinal, cornered the market on commemorative historical prints. During the Great War, the traditional style of these prints appealed to French artists looking to show their patriotism, as in the eyes of an increasingly anti-German public, the image d'Épinal came to represent a distinctly French product unmarred by foreign influence. The prints had a further appeal in that their minimalist form allowed many artists to stay true to the modernist ideals of their time.

Printing houses and periodicals also published popular serialized prints, targeting a public interested in commemorating the historical time they were experiencing. These prints were often tinged with propaganda, like those of Hansi and Raoul Dufy, and invoked the iconography of nationalism. Still other artists, such as Jean-Jacques Berne-Bellecour favored a more photorealistic style — also favored by the French art community of the time for rejecting abstraction, which was considered a German preference.

Scenes of battles, life in the trenches, military hospitals, "typologies" of soldiers, the alleged atrocities of the enemy, allegories of international cooperation and military and political portraits are typical of the images in the Collection. Much of the wartime popular art helped spread patriotism and create antipathy toward the enemy. In its depiction of war, it rarely strayed from the limitations of the image d'Épinal format — an expression that has come to mean a sentimental and naive depiction that ignores any unpleasant reality.

See more about print artists represented in the Collection.

Selected Artists and Print Series Titles

Download the full table of prints.

Artist Call Numbers Series Titles Date Range
Pierre Abadie-Landel M-014—018, M-063 L'Alphabet de l'Armée, Les Hymnes Alliés 1916
Pierre Albert-Birot M-109, M-176 1915
Guy Arnoux XS-011, XS-116, M-058, L-033, L-034 Le Bon Français n.d.
Ch. Atamian M-124 1916
Bruce Bairnsfather S-092 1916
R. Bataille S-137, S-139 Souvenir de la Revanche 1915
P. Benigni L-016, L-017, L-055—056 Guerre 1914 1914
Benito S-043, S-045, S-047—051, S-056—058, S-063—064, S-075, M-169—175 La Grande Guerre 1914-1918
Edouard Bernard M-145, M-151, L-030 l'Emprunt National 1914
Jean-Jacques Berne-Bellecour XS-021—058 1915-1918
Pierre Bertrand M-158—161 Prisonnier roumain Mannheim 1917
Fern. Besnier M-051, M-132, M-177 Guerre Libératrice de 1914 1914
Vladimir Betzites L-060 1918
G. Bigot M-106 1915
A. Bognard M-066, M-110, L-057 Le Beau Régiment 1914
Léon Broquet XS-004—006, S-015—031, S-108—130 1914-1916
H. Carrey M-046, M-047 Les Alliés en Campagne 1914
H. Chartier M-045, M-048 Les Alliés en Campagne 1914
C. Cousin S-143, M-057, M-147 n.d.
Luc Cyl M-122 n.d.
L. Damaré M-144, M-182 1914-1919
Victor Descaves XS-013—018, M-101 1917
Desbarbieux M-068—079 1916
André Devambez M-125 n.d.
Noël Dorville L-058 n.d.
Raoul Dufy L-013 n.d.
F. Fabiano M-129—131 Graine de Héros, Pages Glorieuses 1914-1915
Abel Faivre XS-114, M-107, M-108 l'Emprunt National 1915-1917
Henri Farre XS-088—089, S-138 1915-1917
Fellac M-080—091 n.d.
François Flameux M-136 1915
Eugène Fohr M-126—127 n.d.
C. Fuebssam L-021 Guerre 1914 1914
Gilbert Gautier M-059 1914
Geoffroy M-056 n.d.
Roger Grillon M-061 Les Hymnes Alliés n.d.
E. Hannaux S-141 n.d.
Hansi [Jean-Jacques Waltz] M-064, M-128 l'Emprunt National 1915-1917
Paul Iribe M-119 1915
Pierre-Georges Jeanniot M-153—157 1915
Job L-062 n.d.
Lucien Jonas XS-091—094, S-144—147, L-075 1916-1918
Eby Kerr S-001 n.d.
Felix Lacaille L-036—038 n.d.
Lucien Laforge M-065 n.d.
Alphonse Lalauze L-031—032 1914-1915
C. Léandor L-023—024 1916-1917
Jean Leprince M-152, M-184—185, L-035 Gallerie des Hommes Célèbres de la Grande Guerre 1915-1916
R. Lesieur L-061 n.d.
André Lhote L-014, L-066 n.d.
H. Lohrer XS-085 n.d.
P. Loubère S-006—010 Pro Patria 1914
Lupus M-103 1914
Henri Manuel L-068 1919
F. Maglin S-136 Souvernir de la Guerre de 1914 1914
James McBey XS-001 1917
S. Morinet L-020 n.d.
Bernard Naudin XS-109—113, XS-115, S-004, S-079, S-088, M-001—013, L-065, XL-084 l'Emprunt National 1915-1918
Maurice Neumont M-142, M-143, M-180, XL-088 1914! 1914-1918
Nikè S-133 n.d.
d'Ostoya S-131, M-166—167 Sourires et Coups de Sabre, Les Rêves... 1914
C. Pierre S-081, S-086 n.d.
S. Pulgar L-025, L-027—028 1915-1916
J. Rabuteau M-137 1914
Louis Raemaekers XS-068 1916
Regamey XS-090 n.d.
M. Richard-Putz M-104 l'Emprunt National 1918
Jean Richepin XS-069 1914
Rico M-141 1916
L. Roblin M-060 1918
Roux-Champion M-062 Les Hymnes Alliés n.d.
Henri Royer M-140 n.d.
L. Sabattier M-105 1919
Sandy-Hook XS-096—107, M-181, L-039—041 Episodes de la Guerre 1914, En Marge de la Guerre 1914
Georges Scott M-148 1915
Sem M-165, L-067 l'Emprunt National 1918
F. Simeon M-120 n.d.
F. Sothol S-134 n.d.
Stanley M-138 1914
Théophile Alexandre Steinlen M-049 n.d.
A. Sunnery L-022 n.d.
E. Tap S-011—013, M-050 La "Kultur" Germanique en 1914 1914
E. Triane S-132 1916
Georges Vallée L-029 1915
Raoul Vion L-060—062 1914
J. S. Vonnerque (?) M-121 1918
A. Willette XS-095, M-164 1915

See more about the prints in the Collection

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