'L'Appat des Gnons' by Morchoisne and Jacques Rampal (Pilote #630, 2 December 1971).

Jean-Claude Morchoisne is a French caricaturist, best remembered for his celebrity caricatures. Together with fellow caricaturists Jean Mulatier and Patrice Ricord, he became famous for his "Grandes Gueules" ("Big Mouths") caricatures, which started in the 1960s and 1970s in Pilote magazine, but later expanded to the national and international press. Morchoisne's caricatures were notable for appearing in photo-realistic colors, while some show the famous faces transform into animals, plants or objects through sequential illustrations. Earlier in his career, Morchoisne also drew humor comics for Pilote, and with Mulatier, Ricord and Jacques Rampal he also founded the short-lived humor magazine Mormoil (1974-1975).

Early life and career
Jean-Claude Morchoisne was born in 1944. At age seven, he unwillingly drew his first caricature when he portrayed his grandfather Jules. His family laughed at the portrait, since it "slightly resembled him", but was "too exaggerated". Morchoisne studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Orléans, but learned caricaturing at the Parisian atelier Met De Penninghen (nowadays the ESAG Penninghen). His cartooning career took off in Les Pieds Nickelés magazine, with his brother Jacques Morchoisne serving as his scriptwriter. In 1968, Jean-Claude Morchoisne drew caricatures for the African magazine Kouakou. Among his main influences are André Franquin, Jack Davis and Mort Drucker.

Pilote
In 1969, Morchoisne became a contributor to the French magazine Pilote, starting out with drawing humor comics based on current affairs and celebrity caricatures for the front cover. He also drew short humor comic stories, for which the scripts were provided by Jean-Marie Pélaprat, Algui, Serge De Beketch, Pascal Guichard and Jacques Rampal. With editor-in-chief René Goscinny, he created the short story 'Les Chevaux de Retour' (issue #556, 2 July 1970), a western parody done in the style of Mad Magazine.


'Les Chevaux de Retour' by Goscinny & Morchoisne (Pilote #556, 2 July 1970).

Les Grandes Gueules
At Pilote, Morchoisne joined his fellow caricaturists Patrice Ricord and Jean Mulatier, who were already making celebrity caricatures under the title 'Les Grandes Gueules' ("The Great Mugs", a "gueule" is a pejorative term for a face). The three men became Pilote magazine's main providers of grotesque portrayals of all kinds of celebrities. In issue #586 (28 January 1971), the first celebrity to be "honored" this way by Morchoisne was U.S. President Richard Nixon. Up until issue #660 (29 June 1972), Morchoisne drew several famous faces from the world of politics, film and pop music, either on the cover or the back cover. They stood out for their use of photo-realistic colors. Other Pilote cartoonists like Jean Solé, Jean-Louis Goussé and Jean-Michel Renault also contributed caricatures for this series, but the Morchoisne-Mulatier-Ricord threesome has become synonymous with the "Grandes Gueules" phrase. In the wake of the feature's popularity, the idea of big-headed caricatures in realistic colors was copied by other comic magazines. In Tintin magazine, for instance, Tibet had his own 'La Tibetière' column (1971-1972).

After 1973, the 'Les Grandes Gueules' title was no longer used in Pilote, but the team continued to make similar caricatures for this magazine throughout the year. The most famous being Adolf Hitler on the cover of issue #700 (5 April 1973), with the caption: "Le Führer Qui Fait Fureur" ("The Führer Who Made Furore"). Many readers felt it was outrageous to put this genocidal dictator in the spotlight. On the other hand, the scandal helped it become Pilote's best-selling issue up to that point. The Pilote editors weren't too surprised, since a readers' poll had indicated that most readers wanted either Hitler or sex bomb Brigitte Bardot on the cover. Three times in 1974 Pilote gave away a free poster with a celebrity caricature, namely of actor Jean Yanne, musician Georges Brassens and Hollywood actor Robert Redford. While Morchoisne left Pilote in 1973, he make two brief returns in 1980, to make a cover depicting Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexej Kosygin and another portraying freshly elected U.S. President Ronald Reagan. A year later he drew several exaggarated portraits of politicians to promote the French presidential elections.


Cover of Pilote #700, with Morchoisne's Hitler caricature, 5 April 1973. 

Following their success in Pilote, the Grandes Gueules of Morchoisne, Mulatier and Ricord expanded to the national and international press, appearing in Paris Match, L'Express, Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Figaro, Libération, Fluide Glacial, Lui, Elle, Der Spiegel, Stern, Time Magazine, Esquire, The Daily Telegraph, Jornal do Brasil, European Illustration, Graphis and Japan Illustration. The 'Les Grandes Gueules' series also spawned several books, starting off with 'Les Grandes Gueules' (Éditions du Pont-Neuf, 1976). Éditions de l' Atelier published a book with caricatures of famous Frenchmen and women - 'Grandes Gueules de France' (1980) - followed by 'Grandes Gueules Par Deux' (1981) and 'Grandes Gueules Superstars' (1981). Dervish Publications brought out 'Grandes Gueules à Pils' (1983), 'Le Livre d'Or des Grandes Gueules' (1983) and 'Le Ciné-Club des Grandes Gueles' (1983). 'Quoi Choisir, 50 Millions de Grandes Gueules' (Glénat, 1986) was a compilation. A collection with caricatures of 20th century celebrities was published under the title 'Les Gueules du Siècle' (with Laurent Gerra, Hors Collection, 1999).

Mormoil
After leaving Pilote, Jean-Claude Morchoisne, Jean Mulatier and Patrice Ricord - accompanied by author/playwright Jacques Rampal - founded their own magazine, Mormoil. Seven issues appeared in 1974 and 1975. Morchoisne designed the cover of the second and third issue, depicting Albert Einstein and Brigitte Bardot, respectively. He also drew several new comic stories for the magazine. Other contributors to Mormoil were François Boucq, Patrice Leconte, Lucques, Christian Binet, Jean-Jacques Loup and Régis Loisel.

cover by Morchoisne (1975)
Cover illustrations for Mormoil, issue #2 (depicting Albert Einstein, March 1974) and issue #3 (depicting Brigitte Bardot, December 1974). 

Political caricatures
Since the 1980s, Morchoisne has brought out numerous political caricature books, usually in the presidential election years, and mostly in collaboration with writer/cartoonist Jacques Rampal. Together with Jean-Pierre Dubouch, Morchoisne and Rampal compiled 'Drôle d'État' (Glénat, 1987). In 'Le Tonton Profond' (Editions n°1, 1988), Morchoisne and Rampal spoofed French President François Mitterrand in a series of caricatures and comic strips. Morchoisne's solo book 'Les Contes de la Mère L'Oie' (Hors Collection, 1994) depicted politicians in Fairy Tales of Mother Goose. Again with Jacques Rampal, he then made 'Les Nouvelles Fables de la Fontaine' (Intervista, 2007-2008), which spoofed politicians in Jean de La Fontaine fables. In 'La Livre de la Jungle' (Archipel, 2019), Morchoisne collaborated with Jean-Louis Festjens on a 'Jungle Book' parody starring French politicians.

With Jacques Rampal, he made 'La Bande à Sarko' (Hors Collection, 2008), a caricature/comic strip book poking fun at President Nicolas Sarkozy and his government. Morchoisne and Vic made the illustrations for 'Les Politiques à Pile ou Face' (Hors Collection, 2007), written by Rampal. Together with his brother Jacques, Morchoisne made 'La Gauche Voit Rouge' (Hors Collection, 2008), ridiculing socialist and Communist politicians. 'Portraits Crachés' (Glénat, 2015) was a team-up with François Morel.

Morchoisne's caricatures have additionally appeared in L'Express, Le Nouvel Observateur, as well as foreign publications like Esquire (USA), Der Stern and Der Spiegel (Germany). Since 1999, he draws a daily caricature for Les Échos.


'Les Emplumés', birds morphing into celebrities. The black woman is French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira. 

Transformation caricatures
In 1981, the French presidential election motivated Patrice Ricord to collaborate with his fellow caricaturists on portraying all the candidates, but transforming them into animals. The idea of transforming a celebrity into something else, like an animal, plant or an object, wasn't new. Artists had already done this since the 16th century. In the 19th century, Honoré Daumier made a famous sequence in which king Louis-Philippe morphed into a pear. The Russian Dmitry Moor made similar caricatures of politicians during the First World War. But Morchoisne and Ricord turned the gimmick into a long-running series. Their 1981 election caricatures first ran in Pilote, after which they were collected in the book 'Les Grands Prédateurs' ("The Great Predators", Dervish Publications, 1982). Similar morphing politician caricatures appeared in the two-volume 'Ces Animaux Qui Nous Gouvernent' (Glénat, 1984-1985), 'L'Homme Politique Descend Du Singe' (Hors-Collection, 1992), 'La Ferme! Ou La Foire Aux Bestiaux' (written by Laurent Gerra, Hors Collection, 1999), 'Ces Cabot Qui Gouvernent Le Monde' (Laurent Gerra, Hors Collection, 2003), 'Ces Nouveaux Cabots Qui Nous Gouvernent' (with Laurent Gerra, Hors Collection, 2004), 'Ces Grosses Bêtes Qui Nous Gouvernent' (with Didier Porte, Dargaud, 2012) and 'La Grand Bestiaire Politique. Vieux Cabots et Drôles de Bêtes' (with Jean-Louis Festjens, 2020). In 'Les Nuisibles' (Hors Collection, 2012) all the politicians are transformed into insects, while in 'Les Emplumés' (Glénat, 2013) they morph into birds.

In 'Télé, Ton Univers Impitoyable' (Glénat, 1985), 'Vu à La Télé' (with Carleen Binet, Presses de la Cité, 1992) and 'Commes des Bêtes' (Hors-Collection, 2009) TV celebrities are given the same treatment. With 'Ces Légumes Qui Nous Gouvernent' (Dargaud, 2010) politicians were proven to be true vegetables. And in 'Si C' Était Un… Portrait Chinois' (Hors Collection, 1996), any celebrity is transformed into any animal, plant or object to which it has a slight resemblance. This latter series ran for five weeks in L'Allumé (1995).


Mick Jagger morphing into a lion, from 'Danger Caricatures!' (2007).

Sports caricatures
Together with Bernard Chenez and Jean-Louis Festjens, Morchoisne made 'Champions Du Monde!' (1998) and with the journalist Laurent Gerra he created the two-volume 'Tous Au Piquet!' (Hors Collection, 2011-2012), all focusing on association football stars. With Roger Brunel and Michel Rodrigue, he worked on 'Le Rugby en Coupe (Du Monde)' (Hors Collection, 1999), caricaturing rugby players.

Graphic contributions
In 1973, the Morchoisne, Ricord and Mulatier team designed the film poster for 'Le Grand Bazar', by the comedy group Les Charlots. Morchoisne also provided the artwork for Stéphan Lévy-Kuentz's books 'Le Dictionnaire Illustré' (Méréal, 1997) and 'Pratiques et Curiosités Sexuelles' (Méréal, 1998). Morchoisne made a graphic contribution to 'Hommage à Bécassine' (Gautier-Languereau, 2016), paying homage to Émile-Joseph Pinchon's comic character Bécassine.

TV career
Jean-Claude Morchoisne designed the caricatures for the marionets in the TV show 'Bébête-Show' (1993-1995) on TFA. He also contributed to the show 'Politiquement Correct' on France 2, where he caricatures politicians during the transmission. An admirer of Morchoisne's cartoons is Roger Law, best known as co-creator of the British satirical puppet show 'Spitting Image'.


Jean-Claude Morchoisne. 

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