Caran d'Ache

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Caran d'Ache
Carandache 1860.jpg
Photographed 1890 by Atelier Nadar
Born Emmanuel Poiré
(1858-11-06)November 6, 1858
Moscow, Russian Empire
Died February 25, 1909(1909-02-25) (aged 50)
Paris, France
Nationality French

Caran d'Ache was the pseudonym of the 19th century French satirist and political cartoonist Emmanuel Poiré (November 6, 1858 – February 25, 1909).[1] "Caran d'Ache" comes from the Russian word karandash (карандаш), meaning pencil, which in turn comes from the Turkish words kara taş, meaning black stone. 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 Lundi du 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'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 have 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]

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.[4]
  • 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.

With fellow cartoonist Forain, he founded Psst... !, a magazine that lasted 85 numbers entirely composed of cartoons by Caran d'Ache and Forain, caricaturing the society and its scandals, showing violent antisemitism and also defending the French army's honor.


  1. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg 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. ^ Lambiek Comiclopedia. "Caran d'Ache". 

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