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Original Portrait of Georges Clemenceau, Publisher of Zola’s “J’Accuse…!”

Item: 22411
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[CLEMENCEAU, GEORGES. (1841-1929). Prime Minister of France.] A colorful bust sketch of Clemenceau wearing his distinctive chapeau drawn with pastels and signed by Swiss artist DAVID BURNAND (1888-1975; “David Burnand”). 1p. Large Folio. N.p., N.d.

Although a political activist in Napoleon III’s France, Clemenceau also enjoyed a teaching career in the U.S. and a medical practice at home before entering politics. He served as mayor of Montmartre and was elected to the National Assembly in 1871 as a member of the Radical Party. In addition to a life in politics he was also active as a journalist and his newspaper, La Justice, founded in 1880, became the voice of Radicalism. In 1894, Clemenceau actively defended Captain Alfred Dreyfus, the French-Jewish officer unjustly convicted of treason. In 1898, as owner and editor of the newspaper L’Aurore, he published Emile Zola’s J’Accuse…!, the world-famous open letter to French President Faure about the Dreyfus Affair; Clemenceau’s brother Albert was one of Dreyfus’s defense attorneys. After serving as minister of the interior, Georges became Prime Minister in 1906, a position he held until 1909 and again from 1917 until 1920.

Clemenceau’s widely known dislike of hard hats “‘set a humble admirer, a modiste named Mile. Jeanne Taty, thinking. She devised the comfortable ‘chapeau Clemenceau,’ that ‘bonnet de police’ which, owing to the word ‘police,’ has caused many translators to plunge into pitfalls. It resembles closely the undress headgear of the poilu, and ‘forage cap’ is probably as near as one can approach to its description in English,’ says the London Daily Telegraph. ‘When the designer ventured to show it to him in the early part of the war he was so pleased with it that he asked her to make him half a dozen. Not content with that, he asked in what way he could be of service to the modiste. Mademoiselle Taty suggested that perhaps he would help a dozen orphan girls whom she wished to train as milliners. ‘Adopt a dozen orphans!’ exclaimed the Premier. ‘That’s a big order, isn’t it? Still, an old man like me may be permitted to indulge in an occasional “folie.” Thenceforward the ‘Tiger’ was never without his ‘bonnet de police’— and he became practically the godfather of the orphan girls,” (“Tales are Told of Clemenceau: Faults and Virtues of Dead Statesman Are Related by Those Who Knew Him,” MacLeans, February 15, 1930).

Burnand was a Swiss painter and illustrator, son of prolific painter and portraitist Eugene Burnand.

In very fine condition.

Original Portrait of Georges Clemenceau, Publisher of Zola’s “J’Accuse…!”

$300 • item #22411

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