'Histoire de Mr. Tuberculus' (1856)

Timoléon Lobrichon was a 19th-century, early 20th-century French caricaturist, painter and illustrator, best known for his nostalgic and sentimental depictions of cute children. He also made two humorous picture stories, 'Histoire de Mr. Tuberculus' (1856) and 'Histoire de Mr. Grenouillet' (1856), both in text comic format.

Early life and career
Timoléon Marie Lobrichon was born in 1831 in Cornod, a town in the French Jura department. He studied under painter François-Édouard Picot at the Académie des Beaux Arts (Academy of Fine Arts) in Paris. From 1859 until his death, he exhibited regularly at the prestigious Salon de Paris. Lobrichon was a caricaturist for satirical magazines such as Le Gaulois, Le Hanneton and Le Diogène. Throughout his career, he also made various landscape paintings, historical scenes and portraits in commission. One of the people he immortalized was the Scottish inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

Paintings of children
Lobrichon was best known for his mood paintings of children. They depict little boys and girls playing games ('Jeux d'Enfant', 1874), studying ('La Leçon de Lecture Gratuite', 1864), being punished ('En Pénitence', 1865) or taking a walk ('Promenade des Enfants'). Everything is drawn in a sweet, sentimental style which emphasizes the cuteness of children and an overall nostalgia for childhood. A typical example and his best-known painting is 'La Vitrine du Magasin de Jouets' ("The Toy Store Window"), which shows young girls gazing in delight at toys through a shop window. Lobrichon also illustrated the popular novel 'La Chanson de l'Enfant' ('The Song of a Child', 1884), written by Jean Aicard. His paintings were exhibited in the Knoedler Gallery in New York City, and also in Melbourne, Australia.

Lobrichon was certainly not the only 19th-century artist whose work supported the idea that children are innocent and endearing. Many painters and photographers at the time specialized in this topic, turning it into an actual genre. Lobrichon's images were distributed as engravings by the international publishing company Goupil & Cie. They were highly popular with general audiences, especially to adults with fond childhood memories. As time passed by, they received an extra nostalgia factor for people romanticizing the Victorian era. Today, Lobrichon's works remain beloved, but are at the same time seen as prime examples of kitsch.


'Promenade des Enfants'.

Histoire de Mr. Tuberculus
In 1856, Lobrichon drew a picture story, released on 28 June of that year by the Parisian publisher Arnauld de Vresse. It is a text comic, with the rhyming narration underneath the images. The book is presented in landscape format (a rectangular-shaped book). The protagonist, Mr. Tuberculus, is described as a happily married corresponding member of the Clysomanie Company. Tuberculus and other characters reveal Lobrichon's background in caricature, as they are all drawn with huge heads. Tuberculus in particular has huge ears and an enormous nose, which serves as a source of comedy throughout the story. For instance, the nose proves to be useful as a fishing rod. Yet his smell organ constantly gets him in trouble too. No matter what activity he tries out - hunting, painting, playing pool, climbing trees - his nose gets stuck, hurt or swollen up, causing all kinds of mayhem. As he bumbles from one slapstick adventure into the other, Tuberculus eventually finds a purpose in life by becoming a scarecrow.


'Histoire de Mr. Grenouillet' (1856).

Histoire de Mr. Grenouillet
The same year as 'Mr. Tuberculus', Lobrichon drew a second picture story, 'Histoire de Mr. Grenouillet' (1856), about a fisherman who travels to the Kakaïkakouka Isles. During his trip, he is pulled into the ocean by a whale, which he had caught with his fishing rod. On the isle, he encounters indigenous people, led by a king. On 17 October 1856, this book was also published by Arnauld de Vresse, again in landscape and text comics format.

Like many mid-19th century picture books, 'Histoire de Mr. Tuberculus' and 'Histoire de Mr. Grenouillet' show obvious influence from Swiss comic pioneer Rodolphe Töpffer. 'Les Aventures de Nestor Camard' (1855) by Quillenbois was obviously also an inspiration, since its main character also has a comical large nose. It is unknown if Lobrichon's two comic stories were first serialized in a magazine. If so, it was most likely in Le Gaulois, Le Hanneton or Le Diogène, magazines to which Lobrichon also contributed caricatures. After these two picture book excursions, the artist fully concentrated on painting.

Recognition
In 1868 and 1882, Timoléon Lobrichon was bestowed with a First Prize medal at the Salon des Artistes Français. In 1883, he was additionally inducted in the Légion d'Honneur.

Death
Some sources claim that Lobrichon passed away on 9 January 1914 in Elbeuf. Most however give 9 December 1914 as his date of death. So by the time of his passing, he was either 82 or 83 years old.


'La Vitrine du Magasin de Jouets'.

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