There are superficial people whom Grandville amuses, but as for me, he frightens me. When I enter into Grandville’s work, I feel a certain discomfort, like in an apartment where disorder is systematically organized, where bizarre cornices rest on the floor, where paintings seem distorted by an optic lens, where objects are deformed by being shoved together at odd angles, where furniture has its feet in the air, and where drawers push in instead of pulling out.
– Charles Baudelaire, Quelque caricaturistes françaises, Écrits sur l’art, 2 vols, 1857.
Un Autre Monde : Transformations, Visions, Incarnations Et Autres Choses by JJ Grandville (1803-1847) was published by H. Fournier of Paris in 1844. The illustrations are, as the book’s sole reviewer at the Internet Archive puts it, “nutty, weird and wonderful – funny and strange.” The work is “very good!”. It is.
JJ Grandville, nee Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard (13 September 1803 – 17 March 1847), generally known by the pseudonym of Jean-Jacques, was a French caricaturist and illustrator. His surreal drawings seem to hover in the twilight between sleep and waking. Animals and plants walk, talk and dance. Celestial objects take human forms. In one scene playing cards fight one another. A smiling giant juggles the planets of the known solar system.
Written by Taxile Delord, the editor of the journal Le Charivari to which Grandville had contributed numerous drawings, Un Autre Monde features a trio of Supreme Beings travelling through a version of the human world. The absurdities of life are there to see and enjoy.
Would you like to support Flashbak?
Please consider making a donation to our site. We don't want to rely on ads to bring you the best of visual culture. You can also support us by signing up to our Mailing List. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For great art and culture delivered to your door, visit our shop.