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Caran d'Ache was the pseudonym of the 19th century French satirist and political cartoonist Emmanuel Poiré (6 November 1858 – 25 February 1909).[1] "Caran d'Ache" comes from the Russian word karandash (карандаш), meaning pencil. While his first work glorified the Napoleonic era, he went on to create "stories without words" and as a contributor to newspapers such as the Le Figaro, he is sometimes hailed as one of the precursors of comic strips. The Swiss art products company Caran d'Ache is named after him.[2]

Caran d'Ache
Carandache 1890.jpg
Photographed 1890 by Atelier Nadar
BornEmmanuel Poiré
(1858-11-06)6 November 1858
Moscow, Russian Empire
Died25 February 1909(1909-02-25) (aged 50)
Paris, France



Caran d'Ache's most famous cartoon. The Dreyfus Affair divided the whole of French society. Here, Caran d'Ache depicts a fictional family dinner. At the top, somebody remarks "Let's not discuss the Dreyfus Affair!". At the bottom, the family is fighting and the caption reads, "They discussed it."

Born in Moscow, 6 November 1858, he was the grandson of an Officer-Grenadier in Napoleon's Grande Armée who, wounded during the Battle of Borodino, had stayed behind in Russia.[3] After his grandfather's death he was adopted by a Polish family whose daughter he later married.

In 1877 Caran d'Ache emigrated to France where he took French citizenship and joined the Army[3] for five years where he was assigned to design uniforms for the ministry of war and where he also contributed to their journal, La Vie militaire, with satirical illustrations, among them some caricatures of the German army.[1]

In 1898 he co-founded the satirical, anti-Dreyfusard weekly magazine Psst… ! along with fellow artist and designer Jean-Louis Forain. The magazine lasted 85 issues and was made up entirely of editorial cartoons by Caran d'Ache and Forain, caricaturing society and its scandals from an antisemitic, pro-Army viewpoint.[4][5]

He died in Paris on 25 February 1909 at the age of 50.


  • 1880: His first drawings of military caricatures were published in La Chronique Parisienne.[6]
  • 1892: Caran d'Ache published Carnet de Chèques ("Checkbook") on the Panama Canal Affair.
  • 1895: He started publishing editorial cartoons (every Monday) in the daily Le Figaro, and soon thereafter for the popular weekly Le Rire.
  • 1898: Émile Zola published J'Accuse, which brought the Dreyfus Affair into the spotlight.


  1. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Caran d'Ache" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ Caran d’Ache and the story of the black stone Archived October 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Graphic Witness. "Le Rire".
  4. ^ Lambeth, John. "La Caricature pendant la 3e République surtout autour de l'Affaire Dreyfus" [Caricature during the 3rd Republic especially with respect to the Dreyfus Affair]. (in French). Washington & Lee. Archived from the original on June 19, 2002. Retrieved November 23, 2017., quoting from Lethève, Jacques (1961). La caricature et la presse sous la IIIe République [Caricature and the Press in the 3rd Republic]. Kiosque #16 (in French). Paris: Armand Colin. OCLC 801910610.
  5. ^ Forain, Jean-Louis; d'Ache, Caran (10 December 2012) [1st pub. 1898-1899]. "Psst...!(Paris)". BnF Gallica (in French). Paris: Plon. Retrieved November 23, 2017 – via "Sourceèque nationale de France".
  6. ^ Lambiek Comiclopedia. "Caran d'Ache".

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