Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard

Jean Granville (real name - Jean Inias Isidore Gerard, September 13, 1803, Nancy - March 17, 1847, Vanves) - French illustrator, master of engraving, author of political and genre caricatures.

Features of the artist Jean Grannville: Jean Granville became famous for his political cartoons and satirical caricature. He actively generated grotesque images with the combined features of man and animal, which subsequently had to be liked by Surrealist artists. As an avid Republican, Granville collaborated with journals supporting the overthrow of the monarchical order in France. His design of the books "Gulliver's Travels" and "Robinson Crusoe" is a classic of the world illustration. The interest of the modern public to the work of the master arose with the release of the album "Innuendo" by Queen in 1991: on the cover there is an illustration of Granville to the "Mysteries of Infinity" from the book "Another World", edited by Richard Gray.

Famous works of Jean Granville: illustrations for the work of Daniel Defoe "Robinson Crusoe", the book of Jonathan Swift "Gulliver's Travels", a series of cartoons "One Hundred Proverbs", works for the two-volume edition of "Scenes of Private and Public Life of Animals", a series of lithographs "Another world" and «Animated flowers».

Young years and the road to Paris
Jean Iñas Isidore Gerard was born in the town of Nancy in the north-east of France in the family of a miniaturist painter. His uncle was also an artist, and the older generation of the family made Granville's stage name famous by regularly performing on the stage with comedy performances. Jean's first drawing teacher was his father. When the young man turned sixteen, his drawings caught the eye of a passing Parisian artist, and he offered to take Jean as an apprentice. Young Granville agreed.

Like the hero of Alexander Dumas d'Artagnan, Granville arrived in Paris, "armed" only with letters of recommendation, and in his pockets, just a few of the coins rang. After studying for a while with Pierre Montzhin, Jean found a new teacher - Ippolit Lecomte. However, all this was not that ... The beginning artist completely abandoned the painting, earning his living by decorating theatrical costumes.

From painting to lithography
Fate again sent Granville along the path of success and sent him another teacher, the lithographer Duval-LeCama. However, the hobby came to Jean even before the meeting with Duval. Technique of lithography, he mastered, in general, independently - and, perhaps, with the help of the previous teacher - Lecomte, who also worked on this field. In 1827, Granville released his first cycles of cartoons "Sunday Days of the Parisian Bourgeois" and "Four Time of Human Life" - a genre very popular with the French. However, the real success came to a young lithographer in two years, after the release of the series "Metamorphosis". In these works, Granville first showed the public a new device that made him famous - he combined in one image the features of an animal and a person. Pepper was added satirical allegories - however, the bright images that were cleverly selected were easily "read", compared with "prototypes", and some lithographs were forbidden by censorship. However, the glory of Granville is not reduced.

Revolution and political satire
A Republican by conviction, Jean Granville met the 1830 Revolution on the barricades. However, "Three Glorious Days" ended only with the transfer of power from one monarch to another: Charles X was replaced by his cousin, Louis-Philippe. Rejection of the monarchical system led Granville to the magazine "Caricature", which brought together many supporters of the Republic. They continued to fight with the tools that they owned best: a pen and a brush. There was everything: 23 trials during the year, fines, arrests. Granville was also detained for a particularly poignant cartoon "Order reigns in Paris". After "Kartikatur" Jean collaborated with the magazines "Sharivari" and "Artist".

Gold fund of book illustration
In the autumn of 1835, a political caricature in France was abolished at the legislative level. Departing from political battles in the pages of magazines and newspapers, Jean Granville really plunged into creativity. And if the political caricature made him famous throughout France, the book illustration glorified his name in the ages. Drawings of Granville to the works of Daniel Defoe "Robinson Crusoe" and "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift - a classic that is still loved all over the world on a par with books themselves. There was also "Don Quixote" by Cervantes, and "Fables" by Lafontaine.

In 1842 he published a two-volume "Scenes of private and public life of animals", the texts of which were written by the famous French writers of the time - Honore de Balzac, George Sand, Musset, Nodier and others. The work on the book was coordinated by the publisher Pierre-Jules Etzel (1814-1886), who also wrote part of the texts under the pseudonym P.-J. Steel. And illustrated scenes of the General Assembly of wild and domestic animals, Jean Granville. Here he was where to turn: beneath the masks of beasts, naturally people were hiding, and Granville, with his rich experience of political magazine caricature, caustic humor and jewelry technique, was able to illustratively reveal the very essence of human characters.

Surrealism and death
The later cycles of Jean Granville differ from all previous work of the artist. "Other World" and "Animated Flowers" remind, rather, dreams, at times frightening, sometimes fantastic - real surrealism that appeared in the light of the middle of the XIX century. Combining the incompatible, combining images of people and objects, plants and machines, animals and people, the artist balanced on the brink of realism and paradox.

It is believed that the blame for this is the severe family turmoil that fell to the artist's share. His family union with his own cousin was happy, but not for long. The first son of Granville died at the age of four, the second about the same age, died of an accident in front of his parents. Having given birth to the third child, Granville's wife died of peritonitis. In the second marriage, fate made the family happy with another child - a son, Arman, was born. But this joy could not outweigh the departure of people so beloved by Jean: the artist began mental disorders, which resulted in another stay in the clinic for the mentally ill. The last straw was the death of the third son from the first marriage, who died, like his brothers, at the age of about four years; his father could not stand the grief and died a few days later. According to the will, Jean Granville was buried next to his first wife and three sons.

Author: Rita Lozinskaya
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