Albert Robida’s Contes Drolatiques


From Doré (see last week’s post) to Robida, and a set of drawings I hadn’t seen before. Albert Robida is best known today for the illustrations from his books which present a humorous look at life in the future. But he was also a working artist, and enough of an expert on medieval French architecture to oversee the recreation of Old Paris that filled a bank of the Seine for the Exposition Universelle of 1900.


Robida’s architectural interest is to the fore in many of his illustrations for Balzac’s droll tales; where Doré often renders buildings as blurred silhouettes, Robida offers authentic detail. He’s also a match for Doré when it comes to comic grotesquery, as these stories demand, while adding anthropomorphic touches of his own.

As before, this is a small selection from a large quantity of illustrations. This time the book is in two volumes which may be browsed here and here.



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Gustave Doré’s Contes Drolatiques


I mentioned Gustave Doré in the Émile Bayard post last week so here’s something from the man himself. I’ve known a couple of the pictures in this 614-page volume for a long time but it’s taken me until this week to look through them all. Doré began his career as a creator of humorous illustrations, and his early illustrated books were at the lighter end of the scale. His flair for the comic and the grotesque are combined in this 1855 edition of Balzac’s stories with a total of 425 drawings, some of which feature the artist’s taste for violent death. As always with Doré, his drawings were filled and embellished by a team of engravers but this is still a remarkable amount of work. What you see here is a necessarily small selection of the full-page pictures; the entire book may be browsed at the Internet Archive.




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