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Crimes et Châtiments, no. 48 of L'Assiette au Beurre, March 1902

Ouevres Nouvelles: Histoire de Politiquer

Artist: Félix Vallotton (1865 - 1925) Primary
Date: 1902
20th century
Dimensions: 12.6 x 9.84 in. (32 x 25 cm)
Object Type: Book
Creation Place: Europe, France
Medium and Support: paper
Credit Line: Gift of James Reed, 2017
Accession Number: 2017.35.874
Not on view.


L'Assiette au Buerre (The Butter Dish), a satirical magazine that offered biting commentary on modern French politics and society, appeared weekly between 1901 and 1912. Printed double-sided on inexpensive paper, each issue typically cost a mere 25 centimes. This special issue of the magazine, which featured 23 lithographs by Vallotton, was priced at 50 centimes. Each lithograph appeared on a single sheet of perforated paper that could be detached to form an independent print.

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This magazine issue was created by French-Swiss artist Félix Vallotton and contains a variety of lithographs for individual use. The magazine itself was titled L'Assiette au Buerre (The Butter Dish), and aimed to promote anarchic messages throughout the Third Republic, in an effort to redistribute power from France’s aristocratic upper-class to the working lower-class.

Depicted on the cover of the magazine is a working-class person that is the victim of police brutality. Vallotton, like other French anarchists of the time, wanted to spread their call for a revolution publicly, and the only print method that allowed for inexpensive mass production was the lithograph. However this was among the last lithographic collections that were produced by Vallotton. Slightly before the magazine’s publication, Vallotton married a wealthy Parisian widow, which elevated him from the lower class to the upper class. From then, until his death, Vallotton abandoned his anarchist roots and transitioned his interests to woodcuts and photographic based painting, which demonstrate his newly found fortune and ability to experiment.

Matthew Little, ‘22



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