A final visit to Cocorico, the French humour magazine of the fin de siècle. Where graphics are concerned I’ve ignored the cartoons to concentrate on the Art Nouveau decoration which is plentiful in the early issues. The star here is Louis Popineau, an artist I only knew from the excessively florid page above which is reprinted sans poem in one of my design books. Popineau enjoyed foliage running riot in this manner but the magazine also features several of his excellent coloured prints. There’s a lot more of this type of work in the complete run of the magazine which may be found at the Internet Archive.
A paean to the poppy by Jérome Doucet illustrated by Adolphe Cossard. Poppies were a very popular plant in the 1890s for obvious naroctic reasons. Cossard made them a feature of his cover for issue 32.
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As noted yesterday, Czech artist František Kupka produced a cover for French magazine Cocorico together with this handful of interior illustrations, all of which date from around 1900. Kupka was living in Paris at the time, and several of these drawings reflect his connections to the Symbolist movement. I’ve posted his Poe illustration before but everything else here is new to me. The most striking piece is Terre de Songe (Land of Dreams) which illustrates a text piece with the same title. Kupka aficionados will recognise this as a variation on a print he made in 1903, Resistance, or The Black Idol, a drawing which today seems to be his most popular (or most visible) work. I’ve wondered a few times whether a tiny speck visible in The Black Idol was meant to be a human figure, something which Terre de Songe confirms. A fantastic drawing in all senses of the word.
The four pictures which follow Terre de Songe are less impressive, a series of double-page satirical drawings whose obscure meaning isn’t helped by their being folded into the centre of the magazine. They’re included here for the sake of completeness.
The Conqueror Worm (after Edgar Allan Poe).
Land of Dreams.
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For a while now I’ve been waiting for several French journals of the fin de siècle to turn up online but humour magazine Cocorico has never been among them. I knew that Alphonse Mucha had contributed a handful of covers and some other graphics to Cocorico, notably the frontispiece (below) which ran in every issue. What I didn’t realise was that this title was effectively the French counterpart to Jugend magazine which had been running for two years when the first issue of Cocorico appeared in December 1898. Both magazines share the same mix of humorous articles, cartoons, serious art pieces and poetry, all connected by some very fine Art Nouveau graphics.
Jugend has the edge when it comes to the graphics, some of which are very strange, but Cocorico looks much more like a humour magazine to contemporary eyes, with many cartoons that resemble those drawn today. Cocorico is also mostly free of the Jugend brand of satire which is often little more than nationalist rabble-rousing. Cocorico ran for 63 issues to 1902 by which time its format had changed and the florid graphics had been abandoned for a more sober layout. What follows is a selection of cover designs, many of which are Mucha’s work, and all of which follow the Jugend template of varying the art style and title design. There’s also one by František Kupka (or François as he was credited here) who also contributed interior illustrations in the later issues. There’ll be more about him tomorrow.
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