J.J. Grandville
February 19, 2007 1:08 PM   Subscribe

Very odd illustrations from caricaturist J.J. Grandville's 1868 book L'Exposition de l'Avenir. More oddities from 1829's Les Métamorphoses Du Jour (some in color here), and lots of delightful garden scenes from his 1847 classic Les Fleurs Animees (vol 1, vol 2). Some consider Grandville one of the earliest proto-surrealists. [more Grandville links in this great post at BibliOdyssey]
posted by mediareport (15 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

To be more clear, 1868 is the date of publication of that edition of L'Exposition de l'Avenir; Grandville died in 1847.
posted by mediareport at 1:15 PM on February 19, 2007

These are fantastic, enchanting. The clothes of leaves and petals and vines in the drawings in both volumes of Les Fleurs Animees are like something out of a dream and a nightmare at the same time.
posted by iconomy at 1:53 PM on February 19, 2007

Thanks, this stuff is very interesting. The image under 'illustrations' does foretell the future, e.g architecture from the Sagrada Famillia to Habitat 67.

And his figures are incredibly reminiscent of Marcel Dzama... and others, like Gorey. I wonder if Grandville was an influence.
posted by Flashman at 1:55 PM on February 19, 2007

Well fucking fuck fuck. That MD link above actually goes to a guy who's *copied* Dzama's figures. What the hell is up with that...and he's trying to sell the picture. That'll teach me to just grab the first ok-quality image off've image search.
But you get the idea...surreal
posted by Flashman at 2:03 PM on February 19, 2007

Too bad all these Curiosity Cabinet type web sites have such damned pitifully small images.
posted by Sukiari at 8:05 PM on February 19, 2007

Also, if I recall correctly, his work is on this Queen album cover (and several singles therefrom, like this one, this one and this one).
posted by grabbingsand at 8:17 PM on February 19, 2007

Someone's also turned a bunch of his illustrations into a tarot deck. Meant to include that in the post.
posted by mediareport at 9:47 PM on February 19, 2007

Oh, that tarot deck just made my day. Fantastic, indeed.
posted by gamera at 10:00 PM on February 19, 2007

Really charming. Thanks mediareport.

Something in the whimsy reminds me a little of Colin de Plancy's work from the early 1800's.

posted by nickyskye at 12:28 AM on February 20, 2007

Wonderful pen & ink work, thanks! Sir John Tenniel's Alice in Wonderland drawings come to mind.

The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood...
posted by cenoxo at 2:23 AM on February 20, 2007

Funny you should mention Tenniel, cenoxo; the tarot folks write that "Grandville was a huge influence on artists such as Tenniel..."
posted by mediareport at 4:18 AM on February 20, 2007

Magic Realist Press have also produced the Victorian Flower Oracle based on Grandville's illustrations.
posted by tabbycat at 4:25 AM on February 20, 2007

Wow mediareport - I'd never see the 'earliest proto-surrealists' links before. They're amazing. Cheers!
posted by peacay at 1:00 AM on February 21, 2007

Well shit, now you've gone and made my day, peacay. Being able to repay you even the tiniest smidgen for all the amazing things you post at BibliOdyssey is a true unexpected pleasure.
posted by mediareport at 8:17 PM on February 21, 2007

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