Fantasio #311 (January 1920)

Posted by on November 11th, 2010 at 12:01 AM



If there’s one thing I love, it’s magazine illustration — the earlier it was drawn before my birth, the better. The late 1800s and early 1900s in particular were a golden age for commercial art, be it feature illustrations, covers or advertising art. I troll illustration blogs, museum and university websites, random Google searches; I buy books online, hunt through used bookstores and thrift shops, you name it. It seems like any time I have money, it somehow winds up on my living-room shelves in the form of old books and magazines.

Recently, my Internet wanderings led me to the art of a woman named Gerda Wegener, an artist perhaps best known for a series of scandalous erotic drawings but who achieved wide fame in her day as a magazine and book illustrator, and somehow this led to a search for a magazine to which she contributed, Fantasio.

There isn’t much information about it online, but I was able to learn a little. Fantasio Magazine was a satirical bi-monthly publication founded by Félix Juven in 1907, which catered to the Bohemian social scene in Paris. Juven’s magazine specialized in social commentary and political satire, and featured sometimes-risqué illustrations by a bevy of French artists, including Albert Guillaume, Metivet, Etienne Le Rallic, Fabiano, René Giffey and René Gontran Ranson (in addition to Ms. Wegener, of course). Every issue featured a cover drawn by Auguste Roubille. Fantasio remained in print until the late 1920s.

The other thing I learned was that, through the antiquarian-books website, there was a bookstore in Paris that sold back issues of Fantasio for $20-25 a copy — and like I said, I’m a total sucker for old commercial art. So I got out my credit card, ordered a random issue, and a week later was the proud owner of Fantasio #311. It’s 36 pages, and not only features a number of full-page color drawings but is also sprinkled with spot illustrations and lovely advertising art throughout.

Naturally, I scanned it, and am eager to share the spoils — you can download a complete scan of the magazine in PDF format at this link (12.1MB), or simply scroll down for a gallery of full-page illustrations. I should note that while the copy I acquired was in fairly decent condition, all things considered, its age is visible in the scans, with the paper having turned dark and muddy (and the occasional small stain). Finally, it should be noted that the sole multi-panel cartoon printed in this issue features the sort of embarrassing racial caricatures common to the period, both abroad in Europe as well as here in the United States.













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One Response to “Fantasio #311 (January 1920)”

  1. JoeProcopio says:

    Dirk, I like you have an incredible fondness for Fantasio and all illustration art from this period. I am currently working on two books you’d be interested in: one on Albert Guillaume, and the other on Fantasio in general. Get in touch if you want to discuss more. These books are coming out from my new press, which you can check out at