Boulangism and other political trends

Boulangism and other political trends

  • The Republic before the elections. Supplement to Figaro dated March 30, 1889, p.1.

  • The monarchy and the count of Paris. Supplement to Figaro dated March 30, 1889, p.2.

  • The Empire and Prince Victor. Supplement to Figaro dated March 30, 1889, p.3.

  • General Boulanger. Supplement to Figaro dated March 30, 1889, p.4.

To close

Title: The Republic before the elections. Supplement to Figaro dated March 30, 1889, p.1.

Author :

Creation date : 1889

Date shown: March 30, 1889

Dimensions: Height 64 - Width 44

Technique and other indications: Lithograph by GLUCQ (Gaston Lucq). Imprimerie Pellerin & Cie.

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - T. Le Magesite web

Picture reference: 05-526395 / 50.21.408D

The Republic before the elections. Supplement to Figaro dated March 30, 1889, p.1.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - T. Le Mage

To close

Title: The monarchy and the count of Paris. Supplement to Figaro dated March 30, 1889, p.2.

Author :

Creation date : 1889

Date shown: March 30, 1889

Dimensions: Height 44 - Width 64

Technique and other indications: Lithograph by GLUCQ (Gaston Lucq). Imprimerie Pellerin & Cie.

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - T. Le Magesite web

Picture reference: 05-526396 / 50.21.408D

The monarchy and the count of Paris. Supplement to Figaro dated March 30, 1889, p.2.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - T. Le Mage

To close

Title: The Empire and Prince Victor. Supplement to Figaro dated March 30, 1889, p.3.

Author :

Creation date : 1889

Date shown: March 30, 1889

Dimensions: Height 44 - Width 64

Technique and other indications: Lithograph by GLUCQ (Gaston Lucq). Imprimerie Pellerin & Cie.

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - T. Le Magesite web

Picture reference: 05-526397 / 50.21.408D

The Empire and Prince Victor. Supplement to Figaro dated March 30, 1889, p.3.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - T. Le Mage

To close

Title: General Boulanger. Supplement to Figaro dated March 30, 1889, p.4.

Author :

Creation date : 1889

Date shown: March 30, 1889

Dimensions: Height 64 - Width 44

Technique and other indications: Lithograph by GLUCQ (Gaston Lucq). Imprimerie Pellerin & Cie.

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - T. Le Magesite web

Picture reference: 05-526394 / 50.21.408D

General Boulanger. Supplement to Figaro dated March 30, 1889, p.4.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - T. Le Mage

Publication date: February 2007

Historical context

General Boulanger, born of "the desire of the masses"?

The short Boulangist period was marked by a few public outbursts which were the hallmark of Boulanger, a man of certain presence. Between his first intervention in the Chamber, where he refused the repression of the Decazeville miners' strike movement, and his flight to Belgium after having nearly carried the Republic in a coup, two episodes stand out: the July 14 review 1886 at Longchamp and the forced departure for Clermont on July 8, 1887. On both occasions, Boulanger's brave attitude and demagoguery were matched only by the collective delirium that he unleashed: “It is Boulanger who 'we need', chanted the people of Paris.

Was he a Bonapartist epigone, the possible successor of an exiled monarchy, the Caesar that a hesitant Republic needed? Was he the guarantor of genuine popular sovereignty, plebiscitary rather than parliamentary, or a providential savior such as France had often known in its history?

Image Analysis

"Images and politics"

On March 30, 1889, two days before Boulanger fled to Brussels and a week before his trial before the High Court of Justice of the Senate, the newspaper's editorial staff Le Figaro decides to offer its readers a supplement entitled "Pictures and politics". For the sake of "impartiality", the four main political tendencies of the time (republicans, monarchists, Bonapartists and Boulangists) are each given a page which reproduces their respective "popular images". The order followed by Le Figaro makes political sense.

The first page gives the "word" to the republic, the regime established nineteen years earlier. The IIIe République is personified here by a woman draped in the antique style and surrounded by a crown reminiscent of Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty (1884). In the central image, as in the fourteen vignettes which extol republican works, the Republic is not Marianne with the Phrygian cap. This is to better give the floor to the other three "suitors" to the government of France.

The second page thus concerns the monarchy, France's "natural" regime for centuries, at least until 1848. The potential monarch, Philippe, count of Paris, appears astride half of the page, next to twelve vignettes that point to the broken promises of the republic.

The third page echoes the second with the portrait of Victor Napoleon as a horseman. The parallel between Napoleon Bonaparte and the son of Prince Jérôme, sentenced to exile since 1886, serves as a program: a strong and plebiscite regime.

Finally, the fourth page presents Boulangism in a complex way. Glücq combines a portrait on horseback, two vignettes, a kaleidoscope of Boulangist personalities and an incongruous illustrated "game of the general's goose". Compared to the other three pages, the text here is a place of fun, and not a serious or even mobilizing speech. In addition, the images are very varied, as if insisting on the impossible coherence of the Boulangist camp. The line is imprecise, almost sloppy, and contrasts with the thoroughness of the scenes drawn in the vignettes in favor of the republicans or the monarchists.

Interpretation

Press and mass education in republican France

An illustrated supplement of the quality of that of Figaro was not common at the time, nor was the use of a printing press like Pellerin. This house was the reference publisher of images of Épinal, a genre of popular images revolutionized in the mid-19th century.e century by designer Charles Pinot. He had imposed a new style of very precise drawing and a theme that allowed to emphasize the quality of details and colors: military uniforms.

Hired in the early 1880s, Gaston Lucq, dit Glücq, himself took advantage of the installation of a chromolithography workshop in the factory to further extend Pellerin's range of productions. Glücq would thus have invented the "advertising image", which could be declined for political propaganda as well as for commercial advertising. The mention on the side: "Industrial advertising & political propaganda by popular image" says a lot about the mix of genres that prevailed then.

The fact that one and the same person illustrated the supplement is quite disturbing. We do not understand the relationship between these commissioned lithographs and the images that would have been distributed between 1881 and 1889. Above all, the treatment of the various military figures causes confusion which relativizes the power of the image and ultimately requires recourse to the text. .
Finally, despite the impartiality claimed by the editorial, General Boulanger is treated in an ironic manner, his image sloppy, as if saturated with himself. Le Figaro, an anti-militarist newspaper, thus clearly indicates that it does not believe in the providential man, but sided with the more traditional alternative, at least since the 18th century.e century, between monarchy and republic. So there were images that neither conveyed nor fueled popular fascination, on the contrary. But did this counter-current discourse really weigh on the iconographic production (almanac of 1886, portraits, songs, etc.) from which Boulanger benefited greatly?

  • July 14th
  • allegory
  • bonapartism
  • boulangisme
  • Third Republic
  • Baker (general)

Bibliography

Adrien DANSETTE, Boulangisme, Paris, Fayard, 1946.Raoul GIRARDET, Myths and political mythologies, Paris, Le Seuil, 1986.Nicole GARNIER-PELLE, French popular imagery, volume II, "Images of Epinal engraved on wood", Paris, R.M.N.-B.N.F., 1996. Jean MISTLER, Épinal and popular imagery, Paris, Hachette, 1961, Jacques NÉRÉ, Boulangisme and the press, Paris, Armand Colin, 1964 (reedited 2005). Jean-François SIRINELLI (ed.), The French rights, from the Revolution to the present day, Paris, Gallimard, coll. "History Folio", 1992.Michel WINOCK, Hexagonal Fever, Paris, Le Seuil, 1987.

To cite this article

Alexandre SUMPF, "Boulangisme and other political tendencies"


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