An exhibition of military caricatures from the portfolio of prints lithographed in Paris by Lemercier after designs
by Jules Draner.
Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection Brown University Library, December 1998-February 1999
Jules Renard was born into a family of good standing and prosperity in the Belgian city of Liège in November, 1833, and soon discovered in himself a liking for drawing and painting and for exercising in these media a personal style of caricature, though he undertook no formal art training. In 1861, at the age of twenty-eight, he went to Paris where, probably through family connections, he found employment with the manufacturing firm of the Société des Zincs de la Vieille-Montagne and, under his original surname, rose to be secretary of that lucrative corporation.
Nevertheless, the dignified executive had not lost interest in his artistic hobby and production, and he made himself known to the editors and publishers of some of the most important illustrated satirical and news periodicals of the era, who took a great liking to his work and showed his caricatures and cartoons frequently, always prominently signed by the name Draner, a pseudonym (Renard in reverse spelling) he used all his life for all his graphic work.
When Renard-Draner was settling in Paris in the mid-19th century, the armies and navies of the world, besides engaging in occasional short wars, were engaging themselves - and most vaingloriously and conspicuously indeed - in the art of display: reviews, parades, the exchange of visits by various branches and units, a mounting elaboration and variety in the design of uniforms and the social standing and activities of those of officer rank. All of thse things caught and amused the eye and mind of Draner, and this was what he most happily and most successfully set out to caricature for the diversion and pleasure of all.
The chief result of his observation and his artistry was the series of 136 full-colour lithographic plates of high quality published by the firm of Daziaro in Paris and handsomely printed by the renowned establishment of Lemercier. The series was entitled Types Militaires: Galerie militaire de toutes les nations. Soldiers and sailors of all countries and all ranks are shown with strong humorous emphasis on ludicrous situations and national characteristics, but, it must be emphasised, always with the strictest accuracy in the depiction of uniforms and accoutrements down to the most monor details of button, braid, fringe or feather.
Draner also chronicled frankly but in a semi-caricatur form the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, particularly the misfortunes and mishaps of the people of Paris during the city's siege, and later, when the war had ended, the bumblings of the French army as subsequently re-constituted. However, after that war, with its horrors, sufferings and after-effects, Draner lost his old admiration for the glory and the glitter of the military and no longer made it his occupation and pleasure to depict soldiery and its various aspects, even though he lived on to die in Paris at the age of 93 in 1926.
The Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection contains many of Draner's caricatures including a full set of Types Militaries, and a number of the artist's original pencil, and water-colour studies.
Aide-de-Camp du Major Maréchal
|France-Ecole St. Cyr
Officier et elève
|Etats Unis d'Amerique 1865
Offr. de Dragons