Referring to my recent post about the Dosne-Thiers building - from the windows you have an excellent view of Place Saint-George. You can see the building where the famous courtesan “La Païva” lived for a while before moving to her fantastic mansion on the Champs-Elysées (on which I posted here). Originally (1824) there was a fountain in the middle of the place. It lost its water when the metro line no. 12 was created (1906).

The fountain was replaced in 1911 by a monument (by Deny Peuch) in honour of the illustrator Paul Gavarni (1804-66), who, as many prominent 19th century artists, lived in this then fairly recently exploited area.

The illustrations on the monument refer to Gavarni’s work, which mostly was in a quite caricaturist style. We see some faces, where water is (was?) supposed to spout.

Here we have some examples of Gavarni's illustrations referring to masquerades and carnivals…
… and some with reference to the “lorettes” - young ladies who were some kind of a lower class courtesans – they had to be supported not by one but by several men. They got their nickname from the nearby church Notre-Dame-de-Lorette.

Gavarni’s illustrations were to a large part published in a satirical newspaper, which appeared 1832-1937, “Le Charivari”. This newspaper (as Gavarni himself) had of course a number of difficulties with censorship, fines, prison, lack of money… It had a number of other prominent collaborators like Gustave Doré (as from when he was 15 years old). I show an example where Honoré Daumier and Cham illustrate and refer to Manet’s exhibition of “Olympia”. 
Gavarni was his artist name – his real name was Sulpice Guillaume Chevallier. He also made some more “serious” illustrations. Here we can see portraits he made of a young Victor Hugo, of Balzac, of the Goncourt brothers – all friends to him – and also a self-portrait… and a caricature of an older Gavarni made by another friend, Nadar, better known as a photographer.


Anonymous said...

That "serious" illustration of young Victor Hugo is spectacular. I thought for a moment it was his eldest daughter, Leopoldine, M. Hugo's great love. The resemblance between them was striking. Among the famous poems in the French language there's one called "Demain dès l'aube" written and dedicated by Victor Hugo to this daughter.

This is a charming, interesting and informative post! I loved all of M. Gavarni's illustrations, his meaningful drawings of the demimonde.
Thank you so much,

claude said...

Mince, je croyait que c'était un cirque dans les Pyrénées.
Merci Peter, je vais me coucher moins bête ce soir. C'est fou comme on s'instructionne avec toi.