Paris: chez Gihaut et Martinet, 1822. Item #03750
"Popular Scenes" and "Scenes of Society"
Two of Pigal's Most Celebrated Albums
PIGAL, Edme Jean. Scènes Populaires [and] Scènes de Société [and] Moeurs Parisiennes. Paris: chez Gihaut et Martinet, ca. 1822-1830.
Folio (14 7/8 x 9 1/2 in; 350 x 242 mm). One hundred and eighteen numbered, hand colored lithographed plates printed by Langlumé. Scènes Populaires 50 plates complete; Scènes de Société 50 plates complete; Moeurs Parisiennes 18 of 100 plates.
Contemporary half red morocco over patterned boards ruled in gilt. Smooth spine decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt, marbled end-papers. Spine head and tail expertly and almost invisibly repaired. The majority of plates are clean with just a handful exhibiting mild sunning/toning or foxing. Otherwise a fine collection of these albums - originally available in black and white as well as colored - that are scarcely found complete; the Sadleir copies that Ray examined lacked many plates. In all, the best overview of Pigal's finest and most celebrated work that we have yet encountered.
"A major French nineteenth century artist and caricaturist, Edme Jean Pigal [1798-1873] studied art in Paris in the studio of Baron Gros. He first exhibited his paintings at the Paris Salon in 1827 and continued to annually exhibit his art there for more than thirty years. Pigal's early art was mainly in the medium of lithography. After 1838 he turned more towards painting, particularly religious and historical scenes commissioned by the French government. His last years were spent as a professor of art at the Lycee in Sens.
"Although he was a fine painter it is the lithographic art of Pigal which remains his finest legacy. Beatrice Farwell writes:
'From the late 1820's to the late 1830's, he (Pigal) produced numerous lithographs caricaturing contemporary customs and social types, in which he ridiculed the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie and the vulgarity of the lower classes. His favorite characters were the street urchins of Paris, servants, coachmen and doormen, and lecherous old men' (Beatrice Farwell, The Charged Image: French Lithographic Caricature, 1816-1848, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, 1989, p. 127).
"Pigal's early lithographic work (c. 1820-1830) concentrates upon the actions of one or two main figures and provides little or no background setting… His lithographs created for individual sale (as opposed to those appearing in the journals) were most often hand-colored before publication.
"In some respects Pigal's earthy brand of caricature was closer to the English satirical art of Gillray, Cruikshank and Rowlandson than to the political and social satires of his French contemporaries, such as Daumier and Gavarni. Perhaps for this reason Pigal's lithographs were very popular in Britain…"
"Pigal's scenes of the people are good. It is not that the originality is very lively, nor even that the design is very comic. Pigal is comical in moderation, but the feeling in his compositions is good and just. These are vulgar truths, but still truths" (Baudelaire, Oeuvres complètes, 1964 edition, p. 995).
"Pigal does play to the groundlings, and no one would accuse him of excessive delicacy, but he knew his world and could depict it incisively in his lithographs" (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, p.196). Pigal's albums "have documentary value, and their fresh and unaffected representation of the people, dress, and scenes of the time gives them a degree of charm' (Ray, p. 189).
Colas and Hiler highly commend these plates for their humor and depiction of contemporary fashion and costume.
Ray,128 (Scènes de Société); 129 (Scènes Populaires); 130 (Moeurs Parisiennes). Colas 2366 ((Scènes de Société); 2365 (Scènes Populaires); 2367 (Moeurs Parisiennes). Hiler p. 710 ( (Scènes Populaires; Moeurs Parisiennes; Scènes de Société). Lipperheide 3676 (Moeurs Parisiennes). Vicaire p. 667 (Scénes de Société); pp. 667-668 (Scénes Populaires). Rahir p. 583 (Scènes de Société; Moeurs Parisiennes; Scènes Populaires). Pichon 403 (Moeurs Parisiennes).
Morgand and Fatout 11495 (Scènes de Société). Destailleur 331 (Moeurs Parisiennes); 332 (Scènes de Société); 333 (Scènes Populaires).