L'Assiette au Beurre


Launched in April 1901 this magazine ran until 1911 and had 593 issues (plus 5 or 7 extra un-numbered issues). The literal translation is 'The Butter Dish' but the title has been interpreted by different people as meaning 'snouts in the trough' or the 'gravy train' - all representing the magazine's political leanings and subject of its attacks. It has been termed 'anarchist' by some commentators and some issues could well be judged as that. It was wider than that though and it attacked virtually every politically and socially controversial topic including harmful government (at home and abroad), the corrupt church, the horrors of war, the monstrous effects of the capitalism system and the crimes against fellow men by those who make up the Establishment.


The magazine was produced in Paris. Paris at this time was at the centre of the art world and many talented artists contributed to the magazine - Frantisek Kupka, Juan Gris, Kees Van Dongen, Jacques Villon (Gaston Duchamp), Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, Felix Vallotton and Jean Louis Forain.


It was almost entirely visual and most issues after the first few were devoted to a single theme and given over to one artist to develop.


Artists shown below include:


 - Vaclav Hradecky (no information)


 - Frantisek Kupka (Bohemian, 1871-1957, died in France) is one of the famous artists that contributed to the journal in its lifetime. He submitted caricatures from 1901-1906 and illustrated three specific issues on money, peace and religion. His illustrations are anarchist in their message and his attacks are far and wide in their target. His caricatures were done on a grand scale and often resembled his paintings in technique; he also did full blown paintings based on these initial caricatures. By 1910 he had left realist painting behind and was developing fauvist and cubist painting and finally then moved into abstract, geometrical  forms. It is this last phase that he is most remembered, as one of the fathers of non-representational art.


 - Charles-Lucien Leandre (French, 1862-1930) was one of the founders of 'Le Rire' and as well as contributing to this he did many works for Assiette. He also produced posters and books illustrations and was most famous for his portraits.


 - Michael (no information)


 - Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen (Swiss, 1859-1923, died in France) was the journals most honoured artist at the time of its creation. His work appears frequently from the beginning until 1908. He did work for many other magazines of the time and he also produced posters, book illustrations and murals.


 - Jean Veber (French, 1864-1928) was a fine draughtsman contributing to many issues and other magazines including 'Le Rire'. He is most remembered for his issue on the British concentration camps of the Boer War. His images from this are probably the most repeated of all from Assiette.



For more on this see;


L'Assiette au Beurre (French site)

(many images from the influential journal from 1901-1912)



L'Assiette au Beurre (French site)

(a small selection, c.10 issues digitised)



Graphic Witness

(Has a section on Assiette)



Les Amis de Job (French site)

(many images from 19th-20th century journals including Assiette)



Skidmore College syllabus on Revolution & Social Upheaval in France

(2 issues of L'Assiette au Beurre digitised plus a few more individual images)