'Dr. Semana' (27 October 1861).

Henrique Fleiuss was a Prussian watercolor painter, engraver and caricaturist, who spent most of his professional life in Brazil. As the founder of the Semana Illustrada (1860-1875), Ilustração Brasileira (1876-1878) and Nova Semana Illustrada (1881-1882), he is considered a pioneer of Brazil's illustrated humor press, and an important instigator of Brazilian graphic arts in general.

Germany-Brazil
He was born as Heinrich Fleiuss in 1824 in Cologne, where he also began his art studies. He later studied arts in Düsseldorf, and Natural Sciences and Music in Munich. At the advise of German botanist/explorer Von Martius, he traveled to Brazil in 1858 to make watercolor paintings of the picturesque landscapes and customs in the country's north east region. He settled in Rio de Janeiro in the following year, and took the more Brazilian sounding surname Henrique.

Imperial Artistic Institute
He opened his own workshop in typography and lithography, together with two fellow Germans, his brother Karl Fleuiss and the painter Karl Linde. Initially known as Fleiuss, Irmãos e Linde ("Fleiuss Brothers and Linde"), the workshop became the Imperial Instituto Artístico ("Imperial Artistic Institute") by decree of Dom Pedro II of Brazil (1840-1889). The three artists made paintings, watercolors, daguerreotypes and photographs, and later also printed maps and exhibition catalogues. By 1863 Henrique Fleiuss also initiated his own xylography workshop, the first of its kind in Brazil.


Semana Illustrada #30, 6 June 1861.

Semana Illustrada
Fleiuss gained special notability as a caricaturist, thanks to his Semana Illustrada, Brazil's first humor weekly with a long duration. The publication of the first issue in December 1860 was announced with a poster designed by Fleiuss, making the German artist also the first known Brazilian poster artist! Fleiuss made nearly all the lithographed illustrations for Semana Illustrada himself, while creating such characters as Dr. Semana, Negrinha and Moleque. Dr. Semana was a squat type with a big head, who always commented on the week's current affairs. The rest of the magazine satirized Rio's society and fashion, and presented humorous domestic and street scenes. Among the other contributors were the artists Flumen Junius (18??-1905) and Aurélio de Figueiredo (1854-1916) and the writers Castro Alves (1847-1871) and Quintino Bocaiúva (1836-1912).

Paraguyan War
By 1864, the weekly began issueing supplements about the war between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, the Empire of Brazil, and Uruguay, also known as the Paraguayan War (1864-1870). They presented portraits of combat heroes and illustrations from the battlefields, sent in by Antonio Luís von Hoonholtz, the Baron of Tefe (1837-1931), an officer in the Brazilian Navy. The paper also took a stance in favor of the abolition of slavery. Fleiuss published the Semana Illustrada until 28 November 1875. The initiative was followed by the more short-lived similar magazines Ilustração Brasileira (1876-1878) and Nova Semana Illustrada (1881-1882).


"One hour of political discussion on 30 December".

Argueing politicians cartoon
One of the cartoons published in the Semana Illustrada has a funny international history. In the 30 December 1861 issue, Fleiuss drew 'Uma hora de discussão politica no dia 30 de Dezembro' ("An hour of political discussion on 30 December"), a comic strip representing a political discussion in ten images. Two stately gentlemen begin their conversation in a civilized manner, but end up in a brawl. Several international versions of the cartoon are known. The oldest appeared anonymously in the German magazine Fliegende Blätter in the first half of 1848 under the caption "political talk in one hour". One year later, the Dutch artist Christiaan Le Blansch copied the sequence for the second issue of Polichinel of 6 January 1849 in the Netherlands. It took Fleiuss eleven years before he presented his version, and even ten more before the Czech Karel Klíč published another rendition in his country.

Legacy
The Fleiuss magazines are of historical importance as they present a vision of Rio life and history in the mid 19th century, seen through a German's eyes. Fleiuss of course brought with him the influence of the 19th century German caricaturist and cartoonists, the most notable proof of that being the argueing politicians cartoon. This made him an interesting alternative to Brazil's other graphic humorists, who generally took their inspiration from their French or Italian colleagues. The Semana Illustrada in turn inspired later Brazilian humor magazines, such as Angelo Agostini's Revista Illustrada (1876-1898).

Henrique Fleiuss passed away in Rio de Janeiro in 1882. He was the father of Max Fleiuss (1868-1943), a journalist, writer, historian, teacher, graduate in law and the perpetual secretary of the Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute.


Semana Illustrada #35, 1861.

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