February Artist of the Month
SEM (Georges Goursat)
(1863 – 1934)
French caricaturist whose illustrations of French high society at play during Les Annees Folles made his
reputation and he became a member of the Salon des Humoristes and the Legion d’honneur in 1904.
He arrived in Paris in March 1900, at the time of the opening of the Universal Exposition picking horse racing as his means of entry into “society”.
3 months after his arrival he self-published an album, Le Turf, caricaturing many prominent Parisian socialites. Followed by Monte-Carlo in 1905, Sem a la Mer (1912) Tangoville Sur Mer (1913) and Le Vrai et Le Faux Chic (1914)After WW1 he continued his depictions of the great and the good at play – including in 1919 Le Grand Monde à l’envers (High Society upside down) and in 1923 La Rond de Nuit and Le Nouveau Monde. He also provided menu illustrations for Parisian cafe Maxim. In 1927 he published the album White Bottoms, about tango and with a big American influence.
January Artist Of The Month –
Cyril Bouda is acknowledged to have been one of the best Czech twentieth-century draftsmen and illustrators. A student of Kysela and Švabinský, he became a master of illustration.
Besides many illustrations, he is also known for his tapestry designs. In his drawings he displayed a strong affinity to the Italian Renaissance. His work shows a strong sense of narrative and a sense of detail and humour which makes him a particularly appropriate illustrator of the Prague Legends.
Bouda was also a dedicated teacher throughout his life. His enjoyment of music and poetry meant he mixed with many other artists, for whom he made illustrations or portraits. He was also an accomplished graphic artist.
His rich coloured illustrations for Legends of Prague have a great sense of narrative and energy and his black and white illustrations for “Jerks Kozu” have a surreal quality that evokes Mervyn Peake’s illustration of The Hunting of the Snark.
November Artist Of The Month –
Herbert Samuel “Bert” Thomas contributed Cartoons and Character drawings to The Humorist and Punch magazines and was the creator of British propaganda posters during the First (he was made an MBE in 1918 for his contribution to the war effort) and Second World Wars.
He became nationally known for his cartoon “Arf a mo, Kaiser”, for the “Smokes for Tommy” campaign and the image was re-drawn and used during the Second World War with the caption “Arf a mo, ‘itler” which the Germans banned (!) and to ensure British prisoners’ comfort parcels that included it still got through, he created a variation “Are we downhearted?”
Although born in South Wales he moved to London in 1900 and many of his cartoons featured London scenes and characters – cockneys and toffs!
The 1st examples of his work I came across were a wonderful London character study entitled
“Lambeff” (already snapped up I’m afraid!) and a caricature described as being of GK Chesterton (but if time travel was real I would swear it was Ian McEwan!) and a wartime poster “Is your journey really necessary?” – also sold (to be put to new purpose supporting an eco-initiative).
More recently I acquired a collection of 20 of his original 1930s cartoons most of which appeared in The Humorist (in fact I managed to track down the edition in which one of them appeared – which is available to accompany the original). There are a couple framed in Off The Wall and of course the others can be easily framed to order!
Wife to husband taking a drink “go easy with that stuff. It’s the only mirror I’ve got.
Tripper – Wasn’t there someone murdered here once? Guide – Shouldn’t be surprised – we get all kinds of visitors (with humorist April 30th 1938
You’ll never find your way home in that condition Sir. Why not? Why should I fail Thish time?
Speed Cop – Due back to barracks at midnight eh? It’s now 10am Tar – Blimey! 10 hours late already
The young VN – Don’t this storm put the wind up yer? The old VN – Wot storm?
Boatman – Ere – can’t yer see where yer goin’? Deck Hand – ‘Not yet chum. We’re goin to Orstralia’!
October Artist Of The Month –
French artist and Illustrator, born in Nancy. He was a pupil at l’Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris and his work was exhibited at Le Salon d’Automne and Le Salon des Tuileries between 1923 and 1933.
His main body of work was created in the 1920s in Paris, including his self-published limited edition folio collections “La Faune des Dancings” (the wildlife of the Dance Halls) (1925) and “Le Baccara” (1926).
They bring to life the more decadent /unconstrained side of Parisian life at the time – in the casinos and gambling dens, the gay clubs, music halls and theatres of the time.Many of the lithographs in these folios were “rehaussee” (heightened) by the application
of watercolour. He also recorded the French theatrical community with portraits/caricatures of actors, some in their best-known roles, such as Louis Joubert as “Le Trouhadec Indigne” and the clown Grock.
He illustrated Les Amertumes (Bitterness) by Andre Haguenauer in which he used a more expressionist style (also 1925). His illustrations for Alfred Marchard’s Printemp Sexuel would certainly be viewed now with great suspicion, including as they do, children in overtly sexual poses.
He also illustrated an early edition of David Golder by Irene Nemirovsky better known now for her Suite
Francais rediscovered and published in 2004 and later filmed (as was David Golder). He contributed to the satirical magazine
Le Rire (Laughter) and he was a court artist at the trials of the collaborationist Vichy French government (Petain, Maurras & Laval).
September Artist Of The Month –
S C H”Sammy”Davis
(aka Casque – French for Helmet)
British racing motorist, journalist and artist.
In 1906 Davis became an apprentice with the Daimler Company and trained as a draughtsman and, in 1910, joined the staff of Automobile Engineer as a technical illustrator. After demobilisation at the end of the First World War he became sports editor of The Autocar.
Davis aided his prewar motorcycling associate, W. O. Bentley, in starting his company becoming one of the famous Bentley Boys of the late 1920s, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Bentley in 1927.
He was first V.P. of the Aston Martin Owners Club in 1935, designing the Aston Martin “wings” badge.
He wrote numerous serious journalistic books about motor racing illustrated with photographs and several more light hearted ones, some published under the pseudonym “Casque” which he illustrated himself with line drawings both humorous and technically detailed, apparently taking particular pleasure in mechanical disaster and driver fallibility!
For those interested in motor racing – His drawings give a unique insight into the world of racing and racers between the wars, the relationships between drivers, their racing cars, the mechanics who kept them on the road and the officials who helped keep the drivers on the straight and narrow! Taking us back to the time when the same drivers took on the Brooklands banking, the Le Mans roads, the snows of the Alpine and Monte Carlo Rallies and the Mille Milia. And at a time when the challenge of keeping the cars on the road was such that the mechanics travelled in the cars alongside the drivers in order to provide trackside mechanical 1st aid!
But above all they’re about the humour of human fallibility when tested by human and mechanical frailty.