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.