Kupka in Cocorico


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.





Previously on { feuilleton }
Cocorico covers
Le Cantique des Cantiques
Symbolist cinema
Illustrating Poe #5: Among the others
Kafka and Kupka

5 thoughts on “Kupka in Cocorico”

  1. That cover is in the collected edition linked above but it’s one I omitted from the earlier selection.

    I’ve not looked at L’Assiette au Beurre before. His cover depicting “L’Argent” seems to have been the origin of the painting on the same theme (or vice versa). I’ve less interest in satirical material of any kind, viewed at a distance it tends to be either incomprehensible or heavy-handed.

  2. His cover depicting “L’Argent” seems to have been the origin of the painting on the same theme (or vice versa).

    Michael Gibson’s description of the “Gold” painting is apt — “Kupka has treated a subject suitable for a satirical cartoon with the full panoply of the painter’s art.”

    And of course it *was* a satirical cartoon, one of a whole series (within that particular issue of L’Assiette au Beurre) showing the money-bellied Gold figure corrupting society and destroying youthful ideals in various ways. All very unsubtle & message-centred, but when you see his drawings all side-by-side on the gallery wall then the sheer repetition creates an almost surreal quality in its bizarre obsession.

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