Rare Books Blog

October 9, 2012

We thank the following people for their help in organizing and mounting this exhibit:

  • Shana Jackson

    Lillian Goldman Law Library

     
  • Liliane McClenning

    Lillian Goldman Law Library

     
  • Emma Molina Widener

    Adjunct Lecturer, Southern Connecticut State University

 

WORKS ABOUT JOSEPH HÉMARD

Hémard, Joseph. Joseph Hémard: A Short Autobiography. Paris: H. Babou & J. Kahane; New York: Brentano’s, 1929. “With a critical study by Marcel Valotaire, and a portrait of Hémard by Joseph Hémard.” “Bibliography of books illustrated by Joseph Hémard”: p. 41-[43].

Joseph Hémard” (Lambiek Comiclopedia).

Joseph Hémard” (Wikipedia).

Joseph Hémard. This website, in French, features a detailed timeline of  Hémard’s life, photos of Hémard, a bibliography of 125 books illustrated by  Hémard, and examples of Hémard’s paintings.

Katz, Farley P. “The Art of Taxation: Joseph Hémard’s Illustrated Tax Code”, Tax Lawyer 60:1 (Fall 2006), 163-172. Also available online.

Teissier-Ensminger, Anne. La fortune esthétique du Code civil des Français. Paris: Éditions La Mémoire du Droit, 2004.

Teissier-Ensminger, Anne. “La loi au figuré: trois illustrateurs du Code Pénal français.” In La Justice en images (Frédéric Chauvaud & Solange Vernois, eds. Paris: CREDHESS, 2004), 277-291.

 

POCHOIR

Vibrant Visions: Pochoir Prints in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Library

The Art of the Pochoir Book (University of Cincinnati, Archives and Rare Books Library)

 

“ ‘And then I drew for books’: The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard,” curated by Farley P. Katz and Mike Widener, is on display Sept. 15 - Dec. 15, 2012, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

 

October 8, 2012

Joseph Hémard was born in 1880, in a small town near Paris. He was a prolific artist, designing costumes, theatre sets, patterns for printed textiles, book bindings, posters, menus, letterheads, and even a façade for a bar in the 1925 Paris Exposition of Decorative Art.

Hémard’s lasting fame, however, lies in his book illustrations – always with a distinctly French character, usually comic, and often mildly erotic. He was probably the most prolific book illustrator in the first half of the twentieth century in France, if not the entire world. Many of his illustrations were executed in pochoir, a hand stenciling process producing intense, gorgeous colors still vibrant after three-quarters of a century.

A great number of books feature Hémard’s comic illustrations, including the classics of French literature and many otherwise humorless works of nonfiction such as the French Tax Code (pictured at right), a pharmacy manual, and promotional booklets for the French National Lottery. Hémard was himself a prolific author, writing many of the books he illustrated including a children’s history of France and textbooks of grammar, French history and arithmetic. Hémard also wrote novels and songs, and, in his final years, created crossword puzzles.

It is apparent from his drawings that Hémard loved all that he encountered in life – the young and the old, the rich and the vagrant, children and dogs, but above all, women.

Hémard died in Paris in 1961. After World War II, his popularity at home waned. He remains virtually unknown in the United States. In recent years, however, interest in Hémard has increased in France where his art has been the subject of exhibitions and scholarship.

The title of this exhibition is taken from a brief autobiographical essay in which Hémard first discusses a number of supposed ancestors, devotes two paragraphs to his childhood, and then states: “And then I drew for books.”

Farley P. Katz
San Antonio 2012

“ ‘And then I drew for books’: The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard,” curated by Farley P. Katz and Mike Widener, is on display Sept. 15 - Dec. 15, 2012, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

October 8, 2012

Joseph Hémard’s life, and art, was repeatedly affected by war. He was captured shortly after World War I began and spent the remainder of the war in a German prisoner-of-war camp. During his captivity, he drew his surroundings, fellow prisoners, and guards and published those with his reminiscences in 1919 as Chez les Fritz [Fritz’s House].

Joseph Hémard, Chez les Fritz. 1919. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

On the cover of another book about war, published on the eve of World War II, Hémard painted a lonely private on guard.

Amédée Pavard, Monsieur Pavard s’en va-t-en Guerre. 1939. Vellum binding with color drawing by Hémard. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

Hémard remained in Paris during the occupation, after which he co-authored and illustrated a pamphlet of humorous stories from the war years, Gavroche Sous la Botte [Citizen Under the Boot]. Shown is an illustration for a story in which Hitler attempts to enter Heaven, but is told that he must first paint “Juif” (Jew) on each star in the universe.

M. Fougerole & Joseph Hémard, Gavroche Sous la Botte. 1945. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

After the liberation of Paris in 1944, Hémard produced several anti-Hitler joke postcards. In the one shown here, the matron Germania scolds Hitler for allowing the Allies to kick his rear end.

Joseph Hémard, Anti-Hitler post cards. After August 25, 1944. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

“ ‘And then I drew for books’: The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard,” curated by Farley P. Katz and Mike Widener, is on display Sept. 15 - Dec. 15, 2012, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

October 8, 2012

In 1925 someone, probably Hémard or his publisher, René Kieffer, came up with the brilliant idea of publishing an illustrated version of the part of the Code Civil of France containing the family law statutes that govern marriage, divorce, children, adoption, and other aspects of personal life. Hémard took the opportunity to produce witty and lively vignettes of individuals caught up in various family dilemmas. The book was published as a limited edition on special paper, with the illustrations done in pochoir.

Code civil: Livre premier, Des personnes. 1925. Pochoir. Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library. Gift of Farley P. Katz.

In about 1940 (the book is undated), Hémard moved on to the French Penal Code. Those statutes gave him even more material to work with, and the illustrations became increasingly wild and filled with black humor.

 

Code Penal. Circa 1940. Pochoir. Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library. Illustration for Article 319 (involuntary manslaughter).

Among Hémard’s more pedestrian commissions were annual promotional pamphlets for the French National Lottery (1937-1942). Shown here is the 1938 Règlement de la Loterie National, setting forth the official rules.

Règlement de la Loterie National. 1938. Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library. Gift of Farley P. Katz.

In 1944, while Paris was still occupied by the Germans, Hémard produced his greatest legal achievement, the Code Général des Impôts Directs et Taxes Assimilées (the French Tax Code), fully illustrated, colored in pochoir and published as a lavish limited edition for collectors. The illustrations are larger and more numerous than in the earlier works, the puns more outrageous and the humor more broad. His Code Général des Impôts is one of the most accomplished works of legal humor ever published.

Code Général des Impôts Directs et Taxes Assimilées. 1944. Pochoir. No. 679 of 800 numbered copies. Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library. Gift of Farley P. Katz. Illustration for Art. 73, error in the application of tax. The translation of the sign: “The excuse the tax collector hears every day.”

“ ‘And then I drew for books’: The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard,” curated by Farley P. Katz and Mike Widener, is on display Sept. 15 - Dec. 15, 2012, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

October 8, 2012

Hémard illustrated a great number of classics of French literature, including works such as Le Malade Imaginaire (1921), Gargantua et Pantagruel (1922), Jacques Le Fataliste (1922), Cyrano de Bergerac (1927) and Aucassin et Nicolette (1936), as well as more modern titles. Many of his illustrations are set in France’s past, from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century, and filled with scenes of courtiers, knights, soldiers, peasants, drunks, animals, and women in various stages of undress. The selection here is representative.

Honoré de Balzac, D’ung Paouvre qui avoit nom le Vieulx-par-Chemins. 1914. Pochoir. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

 

François Villon, Les Regrets de la Belle Heaulmiere. 1921. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

 

Anatole France, La Rôtisserie de la Reine Pédauque. 1923. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

 

Théophile Gautier, Le Capitaine Fracasse. 1926. Pochoir. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

 

Georges Courteline, Boubouroche Madelon Margot. 1927. Pochoir. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

“ ‘And then I drew for books’: The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard,” curated by Farley P. Katz and Mike Widener, is on display Sept. 15 - Dec. 15, 2012, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

October 8, 2012

Hémard must have loved children as he made numerous drawings of them and also illustrated, and even wrote, books specifically intended for children. These include ABCs, coloring books, and fairy tales.

In Trente Tableaux d’Historie de France (1912), an early work of Hémard’s, he illustrated thirty events in France’s history, from the legend of the founding of Marseilles in 600 B.C. to the Paris Commune of 1871. The image below depicts King Louis IX rendering justice beneath the oak of Vincennes, apparently in the case of a badminton game gone terribly wrong.

Joseph Hémard, Trente Tableaux d’Historie de France. 1912. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

André Lichtenberger, Le Petit Chaperon Vert [Little Green Riding Hood]. 1922. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

For Pergaud’s delightful novel of warring armies of young boys entirely unaffected by civilization, La Guerre des Boutons [War of the Buttons], Hémard made the definitive illustrations in vibrant pochoir.

Louis Pergaud, La Guerre des Boutons. 1927. Pochoir. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

 

Curnonsky [Maurice Edmond Sailland], Deux Nocturnes. 1927. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

 

Charles Perrault, Contes de Ma Mère l’Oye [Mother Goose]. 1930. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

“ ‘And then I drew for books’: The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard,” curated by Farley P. Katz and Mike Widener, is on display Sept. 15 - Dec. 15, 2012, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

October 8, 2012

Two years after illustrating the French family code, Hémard figured, why not illustrate a pharmacy manual? In 1927, his publisher, René Kieffer, published Formulaire Magistral, in identical format to the Code Civil, consisting of an illustrated technical manual of medicinal formulas. These included medicines for curing tapeworms, venereal disease, and other wretched maladies, which gave Hémard incomparable material for crude and disgusting, but, above all, hilarious illustrations.

Formulaire Magistral. 1927. Pochoir. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

Hémard’s interest in medicine led him to illustrate (and even write) other medical works, including a promotional pamphlet concerning the prostate.

 

Joseph Hémard, Physiologie de la Prostate. 1937. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

Scènes de la Vie Médical. 1939. Pochoir? Collection of Farley P. Katz.

Hémard’s apparent willingness to accept any paying commission produced illustrations for a great variety of miscellaneous works including calendars, utility promotions, menus, letterheads, and bookplates. Shown here is Les Reves la Destinée, a “dream book,” in which the reader can find the meaning of his dreams (possibly authored by Hémard).

 

Les Reves la Destinée [dream book]. Circa 1931. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

Finally, we have Hémard’s own bookplate, depicting himself as a naked caveman pondering an open book he has chanced upon.

Bookplate of Joseph Hémard. Collection of Farley P. Katz.

“ ‘And then I drew for books’: The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard,” curated by Farley P. Katz and Mike Widener, is on display Sept. 15 - Dec. 15, 2012, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

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