Exhibit talk: "The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard"

Michael Widener

Joseph Hémard was one of the most prolific book illustrators of the 20th century, and certainly one of the funniest, yet he remains virtually unknown outside of his native France. Farley P. Katz, a San Antonio tax lawyer and a leading collector of Hémard’s works, is working to change this. Katz will speak on “The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard” on October 5 at the Yale Law School.

The talk is in conjunction with an exhibition at Yale’s Lillian Goldman Law Library, curated by Katz and Mike Widener, the library’s Rare Book Librarian. The exhibition features items from Katz’s collection and books that he donated to the Law Library.

What sets  Hémard apart from other illustrators are the books that one would not normally associate with illustrations. Chief among these are French law codes. Alongside the dry legalese of French tax law are Hémard’s hilarious visual puns and lampoons of tax collectors and government officials.

Katz will deliver his illustrated talk on Hémard at 1:00 p.m. on October 5, in Room 128 of the Yale Law School (127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT). The talk is free and open to the public.

The exhibit, “‘And then I drew for books’: The Comic Art of Joseph Hémard,” is on display until December 15 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery of the Lillian Goldman Law Library (Level L2 in the Yale Law School). It displays two dozen of Hémard’s works. An online version of the exhibit will appear in the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog.

For more information, contact Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian, at (203) 432-4494 or mike.widener[at]yale.edu.

 A Joseph Hémard illustration from Code général des impôts directs et taxes assimilées (Paris: Editions Littéraires et Artistiques; Librairie “Le Triptyque”, 1944), page 218.

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