Anarchist Satire in Pre-World War I Paris: The Case of František Kupka


The rich body of understudied imagery constituting the culture of satire in pre-World War I Paris represents the work of scores of contributing artists, ranging from mockery of manners to biting critique of government policy. While František Kupka is recognized as a major Parisian contributor to the development of modernism and abstraction, his career as a satirist has been sidelined. In 1900, Kupka wrote to his friend the Czech poet Josef S. Machar that he would devote himself in future mainly to lithography and graphics as these media are more “democratic” (Vachtová 41). Kupka published scores of cartoons in France in the prewar period and was recognized at the time as a leading satirist. Here I explore his work in terms of its political and aesthetic aims by focusing on three special issues of the anarchist satirical weekly, L’Assiette au beurre, in which he was responsible for both images and captions.

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