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HERMAN RENE GEORGE PAUL CALLED HERMANN-PAUL
PARIS 1864 – SAINTES-MARIES-DE-LA-MER 1940


Hermann-Paul was a student at the Academie Julian before starting to work by himself or with the advice of Henry Lerolle and Gustave Collin. He began his career with illustrations in L’Escarmouche, Le Courrier Français and Le Cri de Paris. Only after 1890 did he start focusing his attention on black and white and color lithography with the input of people like Vuillard, Bonnard and Toulouse-Lautrec. Much of his work, especially his satirical depictions of bourgeois domestic life, relates in content and style to that of Vallotton. Nevertheless, his art has its own distinctive style and his use of lithography, especially color lithography, places him at the forefront of the aesthetic and technical developments of the medium. Hermann-Paul created bold rhythmic designs with emphasis on contours and caricature; he also produced delicate crachis (which is a splattered ink technique) and crayon effects that he combined with inventive color schemes such as subtle mauves, olives and beiges, or brash yellows and reds.

From his earliest color lithograph to his later work with the medium and finally his political and social illustrations, one can see the development of the artist. In 1895 he concentrated on the design of two monochromatic lithographic series titled La Vie de Monsieur Quelconque and La Vie de Madame Quelconque (The Life of Mr. and Mrs. Anybody). These series were intended as moral critique, which remained his métier through the rest of his life. In 1897 he produced his first political cartoons for Le Cri de Paris. This interest made him design such work for anarchist publications until after the end of World War I, though he was also active as an illustrator for La Victoire. In this publication he was one of the illustrators trying to keep up the spirits of troops engaged in combat.
After 1915 his style became more allusive and barer. Both his woodcuts and his book illustrations after 1915 started reflecting a more crude view on life. In 1931 he executed a series of seven lithographs depicting the Camargue in just a few lines for each design.

From Phillip Cate: The Circle of Toulouse-Lautrec and Janine Bailly-Herzberg: Dictionnaire de l’Estampe en France 1830-1950