Emile Cohl was a French caricaturist, cartoonist and pioneering animator. Born as Émile Courtet, he grew up in a middle class family in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. He showed an early interest in guignol puppet theatre and political caricature. After several jobs, Courtet began his professional career as a caricaturist under the guidance of well-known caricaturist André Gill. Around this time, he also adapted the name Emile Cohl.
He became head of L'Hydropathe, the publication of the Hydropathes art movement. In 1882, Cohl joined the avant-garde Incoherents movement. He was a major contributor to La Nouvelle Lune. Upon the end of the Hydropathes, Cohl moved to London, where he worked for the magazine Pick Me Up. Back in Paris in 1896, Cohl somewhat abandoned caricature and took on cartooning for bicycle, family and children's magazines. He also made comic strips, among others for L'Illustré National. He also ventured into other artistic occupations, such as animation.
In the early 20th century, he worked on several films for Gaumont, among others 'Fantasmagorie', 'les Joyaux Microbes', 'Clair de Lune Espagnol', 'Le Tour Petit Faust' and 'Le Peintre néo-impressionniste'. Later on, Cohl moved to the USA to work for the film company Éclair's American studio. He worked on among others an animated version of George McManus' comic strip 'The Newlyweds'. Back in France during World War I, Cohl worked on animated versions of Benjamin Rabier's characters and Louis Forton's 'Les Pieds Nickélés'. Cohl died poor in the Paul Brousse hospital in Villejuif. An art school in Lyon is named after this legendary artist.
In memoriam illustration, published a week after Cohl's death in 1938.