Naturalisme (Louis Legrand)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Naturalisme[1][2] (1890) is a caricature by French artist Louis Legrand. It depicts a myopic Emile Zola studying the buttocks of a nude model with a magnifying glass. It was published on March 30, 1890 in Le Courrier français[3]. The image was censored.

Prostitutes, errand girls, peasants, and even political comment poured from Legrand’s pen. Two drawings brought him trouble. One called Naturalisme (above) was a mild satire on the "warts and all" naturalism of Émile Zola, called Zolaism by his detractors. It shows the novelist examining a woman’s thighs with his famous myopia. Taken to court for obscenity, Legrand was defended by Eugène Rodrigues, a fine lawyer, friend and later biographer of Rops. He was acquitted, but the public prosecutor appealed and, despite Rodrigues’ eloquence, Legrand was found guilty. Refusing to pay the fine, he was briefly incarcerated in the Sainte-Pelagie gaol. This spell in gaol convinced Legrand that the life of a satirical journalist was not for him. Though he lived in Montmartre he, like Steinlen, lived a bourgeois existence, enjoying the wit and humor of the Chat Noir without plunging into the debauched amusements that Toulouse-Lautrec and Bottini found so amusing. --slightly adapted from Victor Arwas's Belle Époque: posters & graphics (1978)
"Legrand ne fut pas moins servi par le procès que lui valurent son dessin Prostitution, assez mauvais, et la simple charge où il montrait Zola examinant avec sa myopie fameuse les reins d'une femme nue. " --Camille Mauclair

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