Melton prior Institut

Drawing Protest, 1525 - 1970. How protest was visualized through the centuries.

A commented picture spread by Alexander Roob

A picture spread with material from the archive of the Melton Prior Institute, Düsseldorf, in cooperation with the exhibition "Im Zeichen des Protests / Drawing Protest", Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, 19.10.2013 - 09.01.2014, curated by Olga Vostretsova

01) Barthel Beham, “Der Welt Lauf” (The course of the world), copper engraving, Nuremberg 1525

The artist Barthel Beham from Nuremberg belonged to a group of social-revolutionary artists from the circle of Dürer that was influenced by Thomas Müntzer, the theologian of the peasants’ liberation. The graphic expresses his deep despair in face of the suppression of the Peasants’ Revolts. Beham’s political Melencholia depicts Justitia chained and powerless. The fox, which at times was interpreted as the symbol of counter-revolutionary Martin Luther, has wrested the executioner’s sword from her and now strikes terror among the defenseless creatures.


02) Anon., “Man muss hoffen, dass dies Spiel bald endet” (One must hope that this game will end soon), colored etching, Paris 1789

During the times of the French Revolution, protest was not expressed frontally in pictures either, but preferably in an allegorical or emblematic form. What was widespread in all kinds of variations was the system-critical image of a social context thrown out of joint, with the third estate threatening to collapse under the weight of the fat nobility and clergy.


03) James Gillray, “The Zenith of French Glory: - The Pinnacle of Liberty”,  aquatint etching, London 1793

The insurgents themselves were not interested in spreading pictures of the revolt. Instead, images that depicted the outrage or the overthrow itself belonged to the repertory of the counter-propaganda. In James Gillray’s caricature, the revolutionary events are shown as the spawn of a mad mob.

 

04) Thomas Spence, “The Civil Citizen”, etching, 1796

The English early communist Thomas Spence propagated his plan of an egalitarian social reform with a number of very succinct emblems, which he preferably disseminated in the form of graffiti campaigns or on self-minted coins.


05)  William Hone & George Cruikshank, “These Are The People”, The Political House that Jack built, wood engraving, London 1819

The subject of the enormously popular illustrated pamphlet is the so-called Peterloo massacre. A large demonstration for freedom of expression and universal suffrage was bloodily suppressed by cavalry troops on St. Peters Field near Manchester. “Peterloo” (an allusion to Waterloo) became an icon of liberalism and the early workers’ movement, distributed in innumerous prints. For the first time, the depiction of a demonstration became the subject of critical illustrated journalism, thus lending protest itself an image.

06)  William Hone & George Cruikshank, “The Freeborn Englishman”, in: A Slap at Slop and the Bridge Street Gang, wood engraving, London 1821

The picture of enslaved freedom of expression alludes to a number of convictions of radical-liberal publicists. The often circulated motif goes back to a caricature from the circle of repeatedly imprisoned Thomas Spence in the 1790s.


07) Honoré  Daumier, “C'était vraiment bien la peine de nous faire tuer !” (So this is all we got ourselves killed for!), lithography, La Caricature N° 251, Paris 08/27/1835

In the light of the many suppression mechanisms with which the July Monarchy sought to stabilize its power, the victims of the revolution that it had caused rise is horror from their graves. Together with other draftsmen of the legendary satirical magazine, Daumier created the motif of the defensive, heroic proletarian, which decades later went on to make a career in socialist journalism.

08) Wilhelm Kleinenbroich, “Der neue Prometheus” (The New Prometheus), lithography, Düsseldorf, 1842

Next to the Hebrew archangel Satan, the Greek Titan Prometheus is the best-known symbol of rebellion and protest. In the bearded depiction on the anonymously published sheet by the artist Kleinenbroich from Cologne, one believed to recognize the editor-in-chief of the Rheinische Zeitung, Karl Marx, who suffered under Prussian press censorship.


09) Gustave Courbet, “Vive La Republique”, wood engraving, Le Salut Public no.2., Paris 1848

The wood engraving for Charles Baudelaire’s journal on the revolution of 1848 was made after a drawing by Gustave Courbet. It alludes to Delacroix’ iconic depiction of “La Liberté guidant le peuple” from 1830. At the fore is the motif of the barricade as a symbol of resistance.

10)  Anon., “L´attaque a´ lábri des bouchers”, L´Illustration, wood engraving, Paris 1848

The revolution of 1848 was the first uprising that could be documented by the illustrated daily press. The use of photographs can already be established in individual press graphics of the time. This lent the visualization of protest a prosaic, retinal dimension.


11) Alfred Rethel, “Auch ein Todtentanz, Viertes Blatt” (Also a Danse Macabre, Fourth Sheet), wood engraving, Leipzig 1849

The sequence of wood engravings by the Nazarene history painter, which demonizes protest as a destructive force, ranks among the internationally most influential products of counter-revolutionary image propaganda.


12) Gustave Doré, “Communard”,  line block, Versailles et Paris en 1871 d´apres les dessins originaux, Paris 1907

During the tribunals against the Parisian communards in Versailles, the popular illustrator drew a series of vitriolic character studies. The publication, which appeared only decades later, includes portrait studies of both the members of the Versailles administration and combatants of the Commune.


13 ) Arthur Boyd Houghton, “Paris under the Commune – Women’s Club at the Boule Noire, Boulevard Rochechouart”,  wood engraving, The Graphic, 04/08/1871

The number of revolutionary minded women during the events of the Parisian Commune was considerable. In the picture of the British magazine “The Graphic”, the scenery of one of the famous clubs in which the revolutionaries were organized is presented as a kind of infernal witches’ sabbath. The imaginative works by the press illustrator Arthur Boyd Houghton reminded Van Gogh of Goya’s graphics.

14) H. Balling, “Mrs Woodhull asserting her right to vote”, wood engraving, Harper´s Weekly, 11/25/1871

In 1871 the well-known suffragette, journalist and stockbroker Victoria Woodhull protested not only against being denied electoral rights, a short while later she also self-confidently stood as the first female presidential candidate.

15) Alfred Le Petit, “A Choisir!”, Gillotage, Le Grelot, Paris, 06/23/1872

The protest against censorship measures also repeatedly prompted the graphic artists of French caricature magazines to astounding, revolutionary pictorial inventions. Alfred Le Petit, for example, circumvents the pre-censorship’s prohibition of images by reducing the sketch to its compositional skeleton and conveying the content as pure text.


16) Thomas Nast, “Nay, Patience, or we break the sinews (Shakespeare)”, wood engraving, Harpers Weekly, New York,  05/05/1877

No artist had more political influence than the North American press illustrator Thomas Nast with his cartoon campaigns against the Democratic Party, against anarchy, communism, corruption, excesses of the financial markets, and environmental pollution.

17) Anon., “The Great Strike- The Sixth Maryland Regiment fighting its way through Baltimore”, wood engraving, Harper´s Weekly, New York, 08/11/1877

The Great Railroad Strike that took place during the peak of the economic depression marked the start of a long series of fierce workers’ struggles in North America and Europe.


18) Div., “Riots at the West-End of London”, line block, The Illustrated London News, 02/13/1886

The workers’ revolts in London’s West End were preceded by a demonstration of the first British socialist party founded by Henry Hyndman, the “Social Democratic Federation”. The contribution of the “The Illustrated London News” deals with unemployment in London’s East End.

19) Walter Crane, “The Capitalist Vampyr”, line block,  Cartoons for the cause - Designs and verses for the Socialist and Labour Movement 1886-1896 , London 1886

The draftsman Walter Crane was one of the founders of the British Arts and Crafts Movement. Together with William Morris, he joined the “Social Democratic Federation” in 1884, for whose party journal “Justice” he drew the “Capitalist Vampyr” in 1885. Crane’s socialist cartoons were published in a popular anthology in 1886.


20) Anon., “The Riot in Trafalgar Square”, line block, The Graphic, 11/19/1887

The bloody clashes during the large demonstrations organized by the “Social Democratic Federation” and the “Irish National League” went down in the annals of the European workers’ movement as “Bloody Sunday”. William Morris and Walter Crane were also among the participants. 


21) Paul Renouard, “Fight at the bottom of Parliament Street”, halftone, The Graphic, 11/19/1887

The French draftsman Paul Renouard, who intermittently worked as a “special artist” in London, introduced an impressionistic perception to English press graphics.


22) Theophile Steinlen, “L´ Attentat du Pas-De-Calais”, Gillotage, Le Chambard Socialiste No. 1, 12/16/1893

Theophile Steinlen became one of the most important pioneers of 20th-century socialist graphics with the front pages that he drew for a number of French socialist and anarchist magazines.


23) Anon., “Manifestations des Suffragettes a Londres”, halftone, Le Petit Jounral, 06/21/1908

A depiction of the British suffragette movement in the French tabloid press.


24)  G.S.. Amato, “The Universal Suffrage Riots in Brussels”, halftone, The Illustrated London News, 04/19/1902

From an illustrated report on an uprising organized by the liberal and socialist parties of Belgium, which was preceded by a miners’ strike.

25) Käthe Kollwitz, “Losbruch (Charge aka Revolt)”, etching, Berlin 1902 / 1903

Käthe Kollwitz was the favorite artist of the Chinese poet Lu Xun, who in the 1930s founded the new Chinese xylography movement in Shanghai. With this fifth sheet from her cycle “Der Bauernkrieg (Peasants’ Revolt)”, Kollwitz created the model for the topos of the “flood of rage” in Chinese revolutionary graphic art. Paradoxically, the pacifist artist thus shaped the design of one of the most belligerent icons of the century.

26) Henri-Gustave Jossot,  “Les Gardiens de la Paix”, halftone, Assiette au beurre, No. 150, 02/13/1904

In this issue of the legendary anarchist artists’ magazine “Assiette au beurre”, Henri-Gustave Jossot addresses the theme of police violence, which he seeks to expose with relish as senseless acts of a barbarian authoritarian state.

27) Jules Grandjouan, “A bas Monopoles”,  halftone, Assiette au beurre, No. 149, 02/06/1904

Alongside Theophile Steinlen, Jules Grandjouan counts as one of the pioneers of 20th-century revolutionary graphic art.

28) Fritz Koch-Gotha, “Berlin am ersten Tag der Revolution” (Berlin on the First Day of the Revolution), offset, Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, 11/24/1918

The chief illustrator of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung seeks to refrain from taking sides in his sketchy documentation of the Berlin November Revolution.


29) William Siegel, “The Mooney Case”, halftone, The New Masses, April 1932

In this strip, the communist graphic artist William Siegel gives an account of the case involving the imprisoned union leader Tom Mooney, who had been sentenced to death in the context of a bomb attack in 1916. In 1918, under the pressure of the world public, the verdict was revised to a prison sentence due to lack of evidence.


30) Li Hua, “Flood of Rage”, woodcut, Guangzhou, 1947

Li Hua ranks among the most important proponents of the new Chinese xylography movement. This graphic inspired by Käthe Kollwitz is the best-known sheet of his popular “Raging Tide” series from 1947.


31)  William Gropper,  “The Yanks are not coming” , halftone, The New Masses, 05/07/1940

This spread from the legendary Marxist illustrated magazine refers to a well-known anti-war slogan of the American communists, which became obsolete a short while later when the Nazis attacked the Soviet Union.

32) James Barre Turnbull,  “Organized workers against the politics of appeasement”, pencil with opaque white, ca. 1940

Anti-fascist poster design by the American cartoonist and painter James Barre Turnbull.

33) Paul Hogarth, “Tony Ambatielos”, offset, Defiant People. Drawings of Greece Today, London 1952

In 1952 the British artist Paul Hogarth travelled to Athens to do drawings of the trial by the military dictatorship, supported by American and English interests, against the communist union leader Tony Ambatielos.

34)  Paul Hogarth, “The Tribunal”, offset, Defiant People. Drawings of Greece Today, London 1952

Hogarth’s Greece cycle marked the start of a number of social-critical travel reportages from the communist and capitalist front states, with which he subsequently proved himself to be one of the most significant graphic documentarians of the Cold War era.

35) Jules Feiffer, “I implore you Mr. Seale to sit in your chair”, offset, Pictures at a Prosecution: Drawings and Texts from the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, New York 1970

For a period of four months, the American cartoonist Jules Feiffer witnessed the spectacular trial against the “Chicago Eight”, political activists who had disrupted the party convention of the Democrats in 1968 in connection with the simultaneous demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. Feiffer’s declared goal was to provide a “Cinéma vérité version” of the trial in drawings and texts.


36) Jules Feiffer, “Bobby Seale”, offset,  Pictures at a Prosecution: Drawings and Texts from the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, New York 1970

After the indicted Black Panther activist Bobby Seale had called the judge a “pig”, he was first brought before the judge chained and gagged and then excluded from the trial. Seale was sentenced to four years in prison for insulting the court.

Picture Credits: 01) Adolf Laube, Max Steinmetz, Günter Vogler (eds.), Illustrierte Geschichte der deutschen frühbürgerlichen Revolution, Berlin 1974, p. 309 / 02) Klaus Herding and Rolf Reichhardt, Die Bildpublizistik der Französischen Revolution, Frankfurt 1989, p. 8 / 03) Herwig Guratzsch (ed.), James Gillray. Meisterwerke der Karikatur, Stuttgart 1986, p. 76 / 08) Div., Kunst der bürgerlichen Revolution von 1830 bis 1848/49, Berlin 1972, p. 37 / 09) Div., Kunst der bürgerlichen Revolution von 1830 bis 1848/49, Berlin 1972, p. 53 / 25) Uwe M. Schneede, Käthe Kollwitz. Das zeichnerische Werk, Munich 1987, p. 71 / 30) Div.,  Der Holzschnitt im neuen China, Dresden 1951, p. 22 / All others: Collection of the Melton Prior Institute for Reportage Drawing & Printing Culture