Chauveau belongs to the school of irreverent children’s authors who do not instil a moral message or paint a rosy picture of the world, but whose words and pictures enchant their readers. Tomi Ungerer and Maurice Sendak have created books in a similar vein which are now classics of children’s literature.
Roland Topor is the only illustrator known to could have expressed his admiration for Chauveau, who was largely overlooked at the time. The two artists share a dark sense of humour and a style of drawing which “echoes the rhythm of their heartbeats”.
Although most of the contemporary illustrators presented here were not familiar with Chauveau, they share elective affinities with him. Claude Ponti’s detailed and colourful drawing style conjures up a world in which monstrous beings and language break free from conventions, and Grégoire Solotareff draws inspiration from traditional tales to create a darkly humorous world populated by friendly monsters.
Anthony Browne’s graphic style mirrors Chauveau’s precision and poetry. Dorothée de Monfreid’s tools are watercolours and a dark sense of humour. Animator Bertrand Dezoteux echoes Chauveau via Topor and Bosch with his world of ill-defined beings in a state of metamorphosis.
Students at the Gobelins-Ecole de l’image and Chauveau
Léopold ChauveauThe Jester Babriot, n°24/62
To mark this exhibition, the Musée d’Orsay and the Gobelins-École de l’image visual arts and design school have formed an educational partnership. First Year Motion Design students have been set the task of creating an animation lasting no more than a minute based on their interpretation of Chauveau’s sculptures, his Monstrous landscapes, and the story of Jester Babriot. Versions with a soundtrack are available on the internet.