André Gill, pseudonym of Louis-Alexandre Gosset de Guines (Paris, October 17, 1840 - Charenton-le-Pont, May 1, 1885), was a French illustrator.
Gill was the son of the Comte de Guines and Silvie-Adeline Gosset, a seamstress born on 7 July 1818 in Landouzy-la-Ville, located in the ancient province of Thiérache, in the Aisne department. The pseudonym "Gill" is due to the fact that his friends often nicknamed him le beau Geille.
Gill's first drawings were published around 1859, during the second French Empire, first in the Journal amusant, and then in Le Hanneton. His drawings appeared in his friend Jules Vallès' newspaper La Rue, as well as in satirical magazines such as Le Charivari, La Lune (1866), and L'Éclipse. On the front page of the Éclipse of May 10, 1868, an image appeared representing the black journalist-lawyer Victor Cochinat judged to be racist and negrophobic. Also in l'Éclipse, on July 19, 1874, Gill's illustration of "Madame Anastasie" appeared, which has become a famous allegory of censorship. Gill also did illustrations for magazines he founded such as Gill-Revue (1868), La Parodie (1869-1870), La Lune rousse (1876), Les Hommes d'aujourd'hui (1878), La Petite Lune (1878-1879) ) and L'esclave ivre (1881). He also illustrated the novel The Slayer by Émile Zola.
Gill is known for having hosted the poet Arthur Rimbaud at his home, at 89 rue d'Enfer, who arrived there (perhaps without the caricaturist's knowledge) when the latter came to Paris for the first time in February. of 1871. Gill actively participated in the Paris Commune of 1871. Meanwhile, he frequented the Federation of artists of Gustave Courbet and was responsible administrator of the Musée du Luxembourg.
On the occasion of the legislative elections of 1877 and then of 1885 he published a pamphlet, sold for five cents and entitled The Bulletin of the Vote, which presented some of the candidates with a portrait drawn by himself, engraved by Baret, and with a written support text by a reporter. Seventy-two issues came out in 1877 and more in 1855.
Gill was part of the circle of poètes Zutiques with his friend and disciple Émile Cohl. After the fall of the Commune, the designer abandoned the caricaturist style to avoid being the subject of controversy, and became enthusiastic about impressionism, without however finding the same success that he had had working in journalism.
Gill was also a songwriter who regularly went to the Cabaret des Assassins (name inspired by a painting exhibited there which depicted the multiple murderer Jean-Baptiste Troppmann), later renamed Lapin Agile, of which Gill will create the sign. A copy of the original image is kept at the Musée de Montmartre in Paris.
Last years and death
In 1881, when Gill was going through a difficult economic phase, his son Jacques died prematurely. On October 16 of that year, Gill was found in the streets of Brussels after he had wandered aimlessly for days. Given his unstable mental condition, his friends accompanied him to a nursing home in Evere, north of the Belgian capital. Jules Vallès and Callet brought him back to Paris. In 1883 Cohl signed a subscription for Gill to be interned in the Charenton asylum.Alphonse Daudet reported in the preface of the cartoonist's memoirs a testimony on the last days of André Gill:
Gill died in 1885 and was buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery.
Wikisource contains a page in French dedicated to André Gill
Wikimedia Commons contains images or other files about André Gill
Gill, André, on Treccani.it - On-line encyclopedias, Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia.
(EN) André Gill, on Enciclop