d.i. Félix Tournachon Nadar

Nadar, d.i. Félix Tournachon

French photographer, caricaturist, and writer (1820–1910). Autograph letter signed. Paris. 113 rue St Lazare. 8vo. 4 pages.
$ 3,035 / 2.800 € (47099)

Long and interesting letter to his colleague at Le Charivari, the caricaturist and journalist Taxile Delord condemning an "offensive and insulting attack" against his work as a caricaturist by the famous critic Jules Janin. Nadar had organized a "grotesque steeplechase" at the hippodrome that featured plaster-mask-caricatures of prominent people, including Jules Janin himself, who had originally consented to this representation. Nadar cites previous positive criticisms of his work as a caricaturist by Janin from the Journal des Débats and, while underlining that he as an "advocate of absolute freedom in everything and even in the criticism" of his works, asserts that he draws a line at personal insults that he won't "let pass".

Nadar wonders why Janin chose to spread "all this incredible violence, all these hurtful words, all these swear words, all this contempt, about a simple and inoffensive caricature consented to almost eagerly at first by the model" and why he "slanders someone who has never slandered anyone", by calling Nadar "a miserable libeler for a caricature". Hurt and offended, Nadar puts Janin's own honesty as a journalist and caricaturist in question: "And who so gratuitously calls me a slanderer [...]? It's Mr. Janin, my old comrade at the Journal pour rire, whose articles I'm not going to fetch for him from the year 1848/49 during which he wrote entirely anonymously? It's M. Janin who has always found, in his criticism of everything, any weapon good enough to pick up off the ground, and caricature with his pen too. It's M. Janin who accuses me of offending honest people, he who, as you know, insulted the men of that same date in 1848 and the provisional government [...]". Not accepting that Janin insults him "without motive, without provocation", Nadar asks Delord to obtain satisfaction for him, although it remains unclear what he meant by that: "But all this is M. Janin's business, and let him deal with it according to his conscience. What belongs to me is not to allow M. Janin to insult me without motive, without provocation, as if out of some kind of furious madness and in an inconceivable and unjustifiable oblivion of all past good relations, of all truth, of all honesty - he who always speaks of honesty - of all dignity of others and of himself. I ask you, my dear Taxile, less in the name of our mutual friendship than of the justice of my cause, to represent me on this occasion and to obtain for me, if you can, satisfaction from Mr. Janin.".

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