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Related Groups to the Cornet

Early Montmartre Societies and The Cornet

The Society of the Cornet, insofar as it comprised artists, writers, actors, and musicians, was an extension of such early Montmartrean societies as the Bon Bocks, the Hydropathes and the Incoherents, the latter of which was founded by Cornet member Jules Levy. These societies’ agendas were to employ the tongue, pen, and brush to celebrate a Gallic way of life inspired by wine, women, and song. Initially banding together to explore and define new norms and forms, and to promote each others’ talents and works, these groups inevitably splintered and parted ways, energized by an insular Gallic nationalism, capitalism, or socialism.  

The Bon Bock Society, the Hydropathes, and the Incoerents 
In 1875, Emile Bellot, printmaker, organized the Bon Bock Society which for the next fifty years hosted dinners in and around Montmartre for its membership of artists, writers, and performers.

Cornet members included two founding members of the Cornet, Paul Delmet and Bertrand Mellenvoye. Jules Grun, and Adolphe Willette were also members. These groups formalized the avant-garde activities that were distinctly tied to Montmartre during the last two decades of the 19th-century.

The Bon Bocks, like so many other groups, met in Montmartre and published their artwork, most notably in albums in 1883 and 1886, but also on invitations, often with a poem illustrated by an artist. In his book Les Hydropathes from 1924 Jules Levy explains how the group’s name was revealed to Emile Goudeau: ‘Upon an evening of seeing a play, “hydropaten-valse,” about a healing spa, Emile Goudeau, being learned in things Greek, saw the analogy to his own name Goudeau, meaning ‘curing by water.’” In adopting the name, however, the Hydropathes took it to mean “the gout from water,” thus reinforcing the necessity to drink wine. In their initial years between 1878 and 1881, the Hydropathes attracted hundreds of writers including Cornet poet Edmond Haraucourt (Haraucourt’s 1882 hors commerceeditions of La Legende des Sexes were distributed by the Bibliophiles of the Cornet in 1931, with 12 lithographs by Georges Villa). Their weekly, L’Hydropathe, was published from 1879 until they were co-opted into Le Chat Noir in 1882. “The Black Cat” became legendary for its fusion of great talents and its riotous melding of the social classes. Its magazine, Le Chat Noir, contained writings, songs, critiques and illustrations of and by almost all the artists of the group. Its founder, Rodolphe Salis, became equally infamous for his cynical abuse not only of the bourgeois customers but also his artists, most notably future Cornet members Adolphe Willette and Jules Levy. The Incoherents, brandishing their brushes with zealous liberty, embraced non-conformity as the ideal, disdained the establishment’s staid and stifling conventions by holding mock art exhibitions and grand balls that were orgies of social caricature and political statement. The provocative nature of these groups was also a grand means of self-promotion which, as they fully developed their craft though satire, irony, and ambiguity, became a powerful and at times worrisome political tool. Indeed their names grew in symbolic importance not only for the societies themselves, but also for the larger society that was drawn to their messages and their art.   

Societe des Dessinateurs Humoristes.  

This Society of French caricaturists and illustrators was founded in 1904, and throughout the period of publication of these bulletins its president was J.-L. Forain. Many Cornet Society members and artists that created Pierrot postcards for Wague were represented in their small booklets. Some examples are Charles Carlegle, Maxime Dethomas, Abel Faivre, J.L. Forain, Albert Gallume, Charles Gir, Jules Grun, Andre Helle, Charles Leandre, Jacques Nam, Bernard Naudin, Maurice Neumont, Poulbot, Prejelan, Georges Redon, Armand Vallee and Willette Sem, Trilleau, Mortin, Avelot, Robida, Veber, etc.; issues usually focused on a certain theme or dedicated to an particular artist.

The Spirit of Montmartre: Cabaret, Humor and the Avant Garde (1875~1905) Edited by of Phillip Dennis Cate. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand artist's/illustrator's satirical jabs, humor and wit through the the medium of magazine illustrations and posters during this era.




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Written by Jason Smith
All material within this website is the express property of Jason Paul Smith. Reprinting, reproduction, and uploading of The Cornet artwork, menus lithographs, postcards, photographs, or other copyrighted materials in whole or in part anywhere on the Internet is illegal and forbidden except with the written permission of Jason Paul Smith