Paris: Chez Gihaut Frères, 1830. Item #05234
Parisian Customs and Social Interactions as Seen by Edmé-Jean Pigal
Seventy Superb Hand Colored Lithograph Plates
PIGAL, Edmé Jean. Moeurs Parisiennes par Pigal. Paris: Chez Gihaut Frères, .
First and only edition.
Folio (13 1/8 x 9 7/8 inches; 333 x 252 mm.). Lithographed title-page and **seventy (of one hundred) fine hand colored lithograph plates. Some plates with minimal light staining or foxing.
**The missing plates are listed in red.
Late nineteenth century quarter red morocco over marbled boards, smooth spine ruled and lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers. Expertly rebacked with most of the original spine laid down.
A wonderful collection of mostly jovial and colorful characters depicting Parisian customs of social interactions in Pigal’s unassuming style of caricature, which is 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.
The publication date of this magnificent costume book is somewhat of a mystery. Our copy has the title-page and was published in Paris "Chez Gihaut Frères"  the same as the Gordon Ray copy.
Colas, Hiler, Lipperheide & Bobins state the publisher as being "Chez Gihaut et Martinet"
The dates they give are (1823); ca. 1823; (1830) and  respectively. The Gordon Ray copy (in OCLC) states the publisher as Paris: Gihaut Frères, 1823.
OCLC locates just two complete copies in libraries and institutions worldwide: The Morgan Library & Museum (NY, US) and The Baltimore Museum of Art Library (MD, US).
"The Garnier copy had a title but this was never seen by Hiler nor apparently has it been seen by Colas, who states that the plates are interesting for the costumes of Paris, and confirms that he has never seen a title page nor original wrappers with title for this work. Interestingly Baudelaire wrote in support of the artist, that "Pigal's scenes are good. It is not that the originality is very lively, or even that the design is very comic. Pigal is comical in moderation, but the feeling in his compositions is good and just. Pigal does play to the groundlings, but no one would accuse him of excessive delicacy, he knows his world and can depict it incisively in his lithographs." It has been said that whilst Pigal was a fine painter, it is his lithographic art which remains his finest legacy. His earthy brand of caricature was closer to the satirical art of Gillray, Cruikshank and Rowlandson in England, rather than the contemporary political caricature of France." (Bobins III, p. 145).
"Beraldi makes the painter Pigal the occasion for denouncing the vulgarity of the caricaturists of the 1820s, allowing only that his Scènes de société may offer "some information about the costume of the period." The "superlatively vulgar" Pigal, he concludes, was "the Paul de Kock of the print." (x, 276-278.) Surely Baudelaire (p. 995) is nearer the mark in what he writes of this "amusing and kindly" artist. "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." 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. Consider the economy of "Rely on me, my dear fellow," of Scènes de société (no. 30). A nervous suitor, hat in hand and fumbled glove on the floor before him, is approaching a bureaucrat, who gives him his little finger. In the official's other hand is the suitor's letter, which will shortly join many similar appeals in the basket beside him. This study of abjectness and disdain epitomizes the insolence of office. Even Beraldi admits that Pigal is an "expert lithographer in execution." The drawing for "Rely on me, my dear fellow" shows how little has been lost between it and the print." (Ray, p. 129)
Edmé-Jean Pigal [1798-1873] a major French nineteenth century artist and caricaturist, 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).
"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…" (http://www.artoftheprint.com/artistpages/pigal_edme_jean_).
"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).
1. Des sang-sues; Messieurs, des sang-sues!...
2. Vive la joie et les pommes de terre! Ou Misère et Gaité.
3. Je n’y suis pas.
4. Une marchande!...
5. Faut le faire aller.
6. C’est z-un héritier.
7. On n’est jamais bien servi que par soi-même, ou le déjeuner de Garçon.
8. Ne t’ennuie pas, ma bonne!
9. Où allons nous? – Coujours tout droit.
10. C’était le bon tems!
11. C’est lui!...
12. C’est ma femme, parbleu! – Pas possible!
13. Chien de métier.
14. De la philosophie, mon cher.
15. Tout le monde s’en méle, je vous dis.
16. Je suis Français, moi…
17. Le Roi et la Vole.
18. Je vous ai fait mal peut-être? Non, Madame…au contraire.
19. Aux derniers les bons!
20. Gare les taches!
21. C’es ben fier à présent?
22. C’est peut-être un homme de lettres?
23. Ah!...vous n’êt’ un farceur!
24. Les amis ne sont pas des Turcs.
25. Et v’la comme on descend gaîment le fleuve de la vie.
26. Est-ce pour de rire ou pour de bon?
27. Parbleu! J’arrive à propos.
28. Toutes et quants fois… Toutes foit et quantes…
29. Ma foi, tout est pour le mieux!
30. Charles, vous me négligez!
31. A c’te niche.
32. Ce sont des bêtes bien précieuses!
33. Eh!...bonjour donc les anciens!
34. Dieux! Quelle peau.
35. Tu n’es jamais contente.
36. Ah! j’t’y prends!
37. Encore aujourd’hui! Mais demain…
38. Jeune homme, sans vous déranger?
39. Ça ne vit plus que pour manger.
40. Aprés vous.
41. Ces Messieurs font ses farces.
42. Aprés moi.
43. C’est mon subordonné.
44. Un Dimanche! C’est-il guignolant!
45. C’est mon Chef.
46. Comme c’est amusant un Gouverneur!
47. Ah! la mauvaise air.
48. Il m’dit, sui dit…dit-y.
49. Aureriez vous de l’huile de Coterêts.
50. Pas mauvais, pas mauvais.
51. Câchons de nous entendre.
52. Portez-vous bien.
53. Mariez-vous donc.
54. Foi de Madeleine.
55. Arrivera-t-il ce coquin la!
56. La Mort n’a pas faim.
57. C’est vraiment une horreur!
58. Tu dérangeras mon homme!
59. Elle aime à rire, elle aime à boire…
60. Ces Maîtres sont si cancres!
61. Ça veut raisonner peinture.
62. Touche donc, voyons?
63. La Légume est si chère.
64. Attendez-moi sous l’orme.
65. Un jeune homme, c’est pas de r’fua.
66. Ris donc, imbécille!
67. Mes respects à Madame.
68. Attendez; c’est moi qui s’trompe.
69. Mon bon papa, j’ne l’f’rai pus!
70. Qué beau tems!
71. La vie est un voilliage.
72. Sans nous u crev’raient tous.
73. Siècle d’égoisme!
74. Les arts sont frères, Mr. Bouton.
75. Nous en rappellerons, croyez moi.
76. Et la concurrence!
77. Nous y voilà.
78. Il n’est pire eau que l’eau qui dort.
79. Comment va la bosse?
80. Les acides mangent la couleur.
81. Voici l’auteur.
82. Fructus belli, Docteur!
83. J’ai pris le métique!
84. Quand reviendras tu?
85. Mon Dieu, qu’t’es longue!
86. Chacun son tour, mes enfans.
87. Voyons cette langue?
88. Qué v’lours!
89. Queu drôle de vin!
90. Y a quéqu’un!...y a quéqu’un!
91. Gare-toi! Toi, vous-même!
92. Y pensez vous, Mr. Guillaume?
93. Eune pratique, canailles!
94. Gare l’eau!
95. Trois sous deux becquets?
96. Je ne suis qu’amateur.
97. Si j’étions roi…
98. Et ta famille, vrogne? J’ai la bouche sèche.
99. Moyennant votre crédit.
100. Monsieur Jules, finissez!
Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, 130; Colas 2367; Hiler, p. 710; Lipperheide, 3676 (incomplete); Bobins III, 958 (50 plates only).