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Maurice Neumont

Maurice–Louis Henri Neumont, 1868-1930, was a lithographer, painter and Cornet member from 1904 to 1930. Paul Escudier writes in the Le Cornet that Neumont began his artistic endeavors at a very young age. Armed with a stick of chalk, the young Neumont is said to have emblazoned the side streets and alleys of his Parisian neighborhood with pictures of men, women and children of all shapes and sizes. When he began his scholastic career, Neumont exasperated his teachers and parents with his precocious ability to fill his workbooks with fantastic caricatures and stories, all the while still achieving good grades.  

Neumont rose to the fore as a painter and lithographer during the time of Adolphe Willette and Charles Leandre.   Escudier further described in Le Cornet how Neumont’s art is “shadow as well as light, graceful and heavy, humorous and profound.” Neumont was known as an artist who could sketch the intricacies of the soul and love with exceptional proficiency. His work often appeared in Le Chat Noir, Le Courrier Francais and Le Journal

Neumont was the most prolific contributor to the Cornet Society menu collection, illustrating 56 menus between 1904 and 1929, approximately 15% of the collection. Neumont was no stranger to accolades; his special achievement award list continues almost ad infinitum, including a gold medal for engraving at the School of Fine Arts (Ecole des Beaux-Arts), Liege and Brussels. However, he is remembered most as a member of the “Patriotic School,” a group of artists whose propaganda posters helped mobilize the French nation in its fight against Germany in World War I.  Neumont’s most popular poster was “They Shall Not Pass,” which included the words: "Twice I have stood fast and conquered on the Marne, my brother civilian.  A deceptive peace offensive will attack you in your turn; like me, you must stand firm and conquer. Be strong and shrewd. Beware of Boche hypocrisy." (Boche is a derogatory term for German.) Neumont was a member of the hors concours (meaning, not competing for awards, or unrivalled) Society of French Artists (Le hors-concours des Artistes Francais), a member of the Incoherents, the vice president and general secretary of the Society of Designers and Humorists, and Knight of the Legion of Honor.




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Written by Jason Smith
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