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Comic Creator

Jean-Louis Forain

Louis-Henri Forain

(23 October 1852 - 11 July 1931, France)  France

Jean-Louis  Forain

Les étrennes de Sylvanie by Jean-Louis Forain
Les étrennes de Sylvanie (L'Echo de Paris, 12 January 1893)

Jean-Louis Forain, whose real name was Louis-Henri Forain, was a French illustrator, caricaturist, impressionist painter and Goguette singer. Born in Reims as the son of a painter, he was a pupil of Jean-Léon Gérôme at the School of Fine Arts. He participated in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and subsequently befriended writers like Verlaine and Rimbaud. He also associated himself with impressionist painters and participated in several expositions between 1879 and 1886.

Forain began his career as a caricaturist around 1876 with contributions to Le Scapin. He later also drew for La Vie Moderne, Le Monde Parisien and La République des Lettres. He published his satirical drawings in Le Courrier Français from 1887, and began his 35-year collaboration with Le Figaro in 1891. Numerous other papers, including L'Écho de Paris, Le New York Herald, Le Journal amusant, Le Rire, Le Temps, L'Assiette au Beurre and Le Gaulois carried his drawings, as did his own magazine, Le Fifre, that he launched in 1899. For L'Echo, he created comic strips like 'Les étrennes de Sylvanie' and 'Les Bonnes Filles de Paris'.

Les Bonnes Filles de Paris by Forain
Les Bonnes Filles de Paris (L'Echo de Paris, 26 January 1893)

While Forain was mainly satirizing social affairs, the Boulangist movement, the Panama scandal and the Dreyfus affair pushed him more and more to political satire against the French Third Republic. He founded the anti-Semitic paper Psst...! with Caran d'Ache in 1898. Forain was a volunteer during the First World War, and participated with other artists in the camouflage section. He accompanied the soldiers in the trenches for moral support while making numerous drawings. He participated in the foundation of the Republic of Montmartre in 1920 and was the movement's president from 1923 until his death in 1931.

Les Notables by Forain
Les Notables

Last updated: 2013-04-30

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