A Collection of Grimaces

No 38. L’Enfance no 2 [Childhood, no. 2].

Like many international print collections, Graphic Arts held a couple satirical prints after the French painter Louis-Léopold Boilly, acquired here and there over the years. One was even used at the top of this blog for a while. We have now acquired the original complete bound set of Boilly’s lithographs known as A Collection of Grimaces, including a title page and 95 prints published between 1823 and 1828.

In the Infinite Jest exhibition catalogue, Nadine Orenstein wrote:

“Long active as a genre painter and portraitist, late in his career Boilly began a series entitled Recueil de Grimaces that comprised ninety-six lithographs showing tight clusters of heads set against blank back-grounds. The first few prints were mainly studies of expression, but he soon extended the images into representations of social types ranging from beggars to art connoisseurs. These extremely successful social satires served as important sources for caricaturists of the following decades, including Honoré Daumier.” —Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine (2011)

Here are a few samples:
No 39. Les Moustaches no 2 [The Whiskers, no. 2].

No 43. La Sortie d’une maison de jeu [Leaving a Gambling House].

No 84. Les Bossus [The Hunchbacks].

No 82. Les Nez longs [The Long Noses].

No 81. Les Nez ronds [The Round Noses].

No 73. Les Chantres [The Singers].

No 65. Les Cornes [The Horns].

No 61. Les Aveugles [The Blind].

No 49. Les Petits ramoneurs [The Little Chimney Sweeps].


Louis Léopold Boilly (1761–1845), Recueil de grimaces [Collection of Grimaces] (Paris: Chez Delpech, Quai Voltaire no. 23, [1823-1828]). 95 lithographs with gouache highlights. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process. Printed and published at the shop of François-Séraphin Delpech (1778-1825).

See also: https://www.princeton.edu/~graphicarts/2007/11/the_print_shop_of_f_delpech.html