Jules Grandjouan

Life Dates:
1875 – 1968
Artist Biography:
In 1897 he abandoned law studies for art, and two years later, still in his native city, wrote and illustrated the book Nantes la grise. In 1900 he moved to Paris, began to appear in Le Rire. He also worked for L'Assiette au Beurre, Le Canard sauvage, Le Sourire, Le Cri de Paris and such outspokenly anarchistic journals as Le Libertaire and Les Temps nouveaux. Between the period of 1900 – 1914 Granjouan executed more than 2000 caricatures and satirical illustrations for the French Journals. It is strange then that Grandjouan, who was such a prolifically published artist should be so poorly documented. In a 1961 publication (La Caricature et la presse sous la IIP Republique, by Jacques Letheve) he is reported as having died of tuberculosis in jail in 1912, but not only did work by him appear in other journals during the First World War: the artist's signature leaves no doubt that the Grandjouan of the same Grandjouan whose drawings of Isadora Duncan were exhibited in San Francisco in 1956, when he was mentioned as being "now in old age"! Perhaps because of his varying but unfocused interests in poster design, book illustration (Maupassant and Ch.-L. Philippe), and the decorative arts Granjouan is too quickly remembered as simply a “hired designer”. We should not forget that Grandjouan’s later work in etching and engraving differ from his satirical work in both topic and execution and his images of Duncan remain some of the most finely executed works of the era. Combining information from various sources: Grandjouan is said to have begun sketching Isadora when he first saw her perform at the Trocadero in Paris in 1901; with the printer Boite he published 25 drawings of her in 1912 – the pastel drawings were reproduced in aquatint with multiple tint plates. Grandjouan visited Isadora’s sister Elizabeth in Darmstadt, presumably before the First World War; saw Isadora in Paris again in 1915-16; and illustrated her Ecrits sur la danse with six plates in 1927. Grandjouan is also said to have made a drawing trip to Russia in 1925. Grand-jouan's drawings in the French illustrated journals, on a multitude of topics, are perhaps too eclectic in style to be acknowledged as a major artist's oeuvre, but many of them are strong and effective.