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French Print Artists

Hansi | Guy Arnoux | Pierre Abadie-Landel | Raoul Dufy | Jean-Jacques Berne-Bellecour

Hansi (1873-1951)

During the war, Alsatian illustrator Hansi (born Jean-Jacques Waltz) published primarily war-themed art for children and pro-French propaganda. These latter illustrations became symbols for the Alsatian resistance and led to Hansi's trial by a German tribunal. The Collection includes several Hansi prints, including Le 152e Poilus 1914-1915 (The 152nd Regiment) (M-064), an illustrated regiment of soldiers intended for children, and Souscrivez tous au 3e Emprunt de la Défense Nationale (Everybody subscribe to the Third National Defense Loan) (M-128), an idyllic scene of cheering Alsatian children welcoming French soldiers, which was used both for advertising a war loan as well as for patriotic postcards. (See more about Hansi in Postcards).

Guy Arnoux (1886-1951)

Guy Arnoux, a prolific wartime artist and illustrator, specialized in updating the art populaire style of the images d'Épinal in prints and in posters. His Le bon Français travaille pour nos soldats (The good Frenchman works for the sake of our soldiers) (XS-011) combines the archetypal bright colors and simple forms of the traditional print and the minimalism of propaganda. The Collection also includes a copy of Arnoux's print Le paradis des braves (Paradise of the Brave) (M-058), a sentimental scene of a French soldier being welcomed into heaven by Napoleon Bonaparte. One of the Collection's most unique prints — Jeu du pas de l'oie (Goosestep Game) (L-033) — is a poster-sized allegorical boardgame designed by Arnoux and printed by the Librarie Lutetia. The game is composed of 63 squares, each containing an anti-German caricature, spiraling around a central space filled with directions for game-play.

Pierre Abadie-Landel (1896-1972)

Pierre Abadie-Landel's 1916 art print series Alphabet de l'Armée (Alphabet of the Army) (M-014 through M-018) consists of humorous portraits of several individuals represented by French military acronyms. The five prints included in the Collection are S.E.M. (le Sécretaire d'État Major) (Adjutant Secretary of State), M.A.M. (L'ouvrier de l'usine) (Factory worker), C.A.M.A. (L'automobiliste du camp retranché) (Trench camp driver), I.M. (L'infirmier militaire) (Military nurse), and R.A.T., which shows a menacing French officer threatening a cowering civilian. The word rat in the French military has a history as a pejorative term applied to individuals in positions of authority. The Collection also includes several prints from Les Hymnes Alliés (National anthems of the Allies) (M-061 through M-063), a series printed by the newspaper Le Nouvel Essor. One of these is Abadie-Landel's Hymne Serbe (M-063), which features a soldier holding a Serbian flag and a caption of the Serbian national anthem.

Raoul Dufy (1877-1953)

Similar to Arnoux and Abadie-Landel, Raoul Dufy came from the Parisian pre-war avante-garde to create nationalistic prints and posters during the war. A member of the Fauvist movement, Dufy was more intimately involved with the propaganda effort than Arnoux or Abadie, producing posters and pamphlets for the French Press Commission, the government's propaganda bureau. Dufy's print Les Nations Alliées pour le Triomphe du Droit et de la Liberté (The Allied Nations for Triumph, Truth and Liberty) (L-013) shows a group of stylized Allied soldiers carrying overlapping flags and evokes the nationalistic spirit and iconic imagery of the images d'Épinal.

Jean-Jacques Berne-Bellecour (1874-1939)

Jean-Jacques Berne-Bellecour was the son of artist Etienne Prosper Berne-Bellecour, who also specialized in military art until his death in 1910. Following in his father's footsteps, Berne-Bellecour was already producing military art before the start of World War I. During the war, he continued to work on a large quantity of war-themed paintings, drawings and prints. In keeping with his realist style, his lithographs are less stylized and more detailed than the prints in the images d'Épinal style popular at the time. Within the series of Berne-Bellecour prints in the Collection (XS-021 through XS-058), Ceux qui montent à la tranchée (Those that climb into the trench) (XS-026) depicts a line of soldiers walking along a road through a desolate landscape.

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Back to Print Collection 12: WWI Printed Media and Art