Exposition Jean-Léon Gérome: Devinez qui a vendu Thanksgiving aux Américains? (Another reason to hate Thanksgiving: The French made me do it)

The first Thanksgiving (JLG Ferris)The Arrival of William Penn (JLG Ferris)The Witch hunt (JLG Ferris) Color contrabandors (JLG Ferris)Angelina Jolie déteste cette fête et ne veut pas prendre part à cette réécriture de l’histoire, comme tant d’autres Américains. Célébrer ce que les colons blancs ont fait aux Amérindiens, la domination d’une culture sur l’autre, ce n’est tout simplement pas son style. Elle ne veut certainement pas apprendre à ses enfants pluriculturels qu’il faut fêter l’histoire d’une tuerie. Angelina est tellement dégoûtée par Thanksgiving qu’elle a tout fait pour que sa famille ne soit pas en Amérique ce jeudi. Si Brad veut une dinde, il faudra qu’il la fasse lui-même. Pour Angie, ce sera encore une journée où l’Amérique essaie de réécrire l’histoire. Proche de la famille Jolie-Pitt
L’axiome  [de Gérôme], c’était que je peindrais le mieux ce qui m’était le plus familier. Jean Léon Gérôme Ferris
Devenant le protégé de Jean-Léon Gerôme, de dix ans son aîné, qui l’introduit dans tous les milieux parisiens, il s’embarque avec lui sur les traces des Saint-Simoniens en Egypte. Ainsi, Bartholdi remonte le Nil jusqu’aux cataractes puis prolonge son voyage jusqu’à Aden et en Abyssinie. Au Salon de 1857, le sculpteur expose « La lyre du Berbère », la première oeuvre inspirée par le voyage en Orient… C’est alors qu’il songe, pour le percement de l’isthme de Suez par un autre disciple des Saint-Simoniens, de Lesseps, à dresser à l’entrée du futur canal « une belle femme drapée à l’antique, coiffée à la mode des sphynx égyptiens », et supportant, au bout de son bras droit, la lanterne d’un phare. La préfiguration de la statue de la Liberté éclairant le Monde. Lucien Maillard
Gaget faisait payer aux Parisiens la visite des ateliers de la rue de Chazelles au bénéfice du Comité constitué pour la construction de la statue. Plus tard, il produira des copies miniatures, passées dans le langage ordinaire comme des « gadgets ». Lucien Maillard

Après la Liberté et les gadgets,… Thanksgiving ?

A l’heure où l’on apprend que l’une des plus grandes et plus courageuses stars de Hollywood boycotte non seulement Thanksgiving mais son propre pays en cette journée annuelle de célébration sanglante …

Pendant que d’autre stars du même Hollywood font partager à leurs compatriotes au  Smithonian de Washington leur propre passion pour le plus notoire révisionniste de l’histoire américaine

Ne voilà-t-il pas que l’on découvre, à l’occasion de l’exposition Jean-Léon Gérôme au Musée d’Orsay, une autre raison de détester Thanksgiving !

En effet, non content d’avoir imposé à son propre pays la plus ringarde des peintures, il se trouve que notre peintre pompier national a de surcroit formé l’élite artistique d’une bonne partie du reste du monde.

Qu’il a même inspiré son nom au père d’un des plus notoires négationnistes de l’histoire de son pays, le tristement fameux (ça ne s’invente pas) Jean-Léon Gérome Ferris.

Et que, sans compter les moyens de diffusion de masse par photogravures et statuettes de ses amis Goupil et Bartholdi (celui qui leur avait déjà refourgué la Liberté et ses gadgets!), il a même inspiré au malheureux son incroyable campagne de réécriture de l‘histoire de son pays.

78 toiles, s’il vous plait, de Christophe Colomb et Pocahontas à la Première Guerre mondiale !

Dont justement la célébrissime et scandaleuse illustration du tristement fameux repas de Thanksgiving.

Où des colons à costume, chapeau et chaussures à boucle noirs qui n’existaient même pas  l’époque contraignent leurs pauvres victimes amérindiennes (affublées de surcroit, comme ceux de l’arrivée de William Penn, de plumes apaches et réduits à quelques uns alors qu’ils étaient deux fois plus nombreux que les colons) à s’asseoir par terre

Painter of American history

JLG. Ferris

Roy Nuhn

The Antique Shoppe Newspaper

April 2007

In the years between 1900 and 1930, painter J. L. G. Ferris created a series of 78 historical scenes portraying America’s past from the discovery of New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492 to the beginning of World War I. Today his artwork is the largest intact series of American historical paintings by a single artist.

What Ferris did was to devote the last 30 years of his life to recapturing the greatness of the American experience on canvas. Even more remarkable, his paintings were not for sale. He did not want the visual effectiveness of his paintings to be lost selling them off one at a time. They were to be viewed as a whole.

Ferris was possessed by a vision. The first half of his life – years of growing up, of art training, and years of studying worldwide and at home in Philadelphia the great, paintings of the past and present – came during the last four decades of the 19th century. This was an age when historians, artists and craftsmen of all disciplines – from architects and writers to furniture designers and educators – as well as the general public looked backward to the greatness of our nation’s past.

Rightly so have these years been called the "American Renaissance," a time when all things American began to be considered important and our past glorious. No longer would European ideas, models and movements influence us too greatly. Beginning with the Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia in 1876, it lasted until the decade or so before World War I, when technology, invention and the marvels of the machine became dominate.

Ferris was one small part of this cultural movement. His paintings, so painstakingly researched down to the tiniest detail, added a humanistic touch to the grandeur of the American past as it found its way onto his canvases. Like many of his contemporaries, he made the great and small figures of America’s great pageant more lifelike, more human, and less the gods and mythological heroes they were once thought to be.

Jean Leon Gerome Ferris was born in Philadelphia on August 18, 1863. His father was a well-known portrait painter and etcher, his mother the sister of three popular artists. Small wonder that he received much encouragement to become an artist. His father was his first teacher.

In 1879 young Jean was enrolled in the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, located in Philadelphia. There he received the best possible art education in America and had the finest teachers in the country. He made several trips abroad, with his father, to study the paintings of Europe’s best.

In 1883 he was sent to the Academie Julian, in Paris, to study with the world’s most respected teachers of the time. In France he was drawn into the current anti-establishment art movement of the day, which advocated the combination of the traditional academic approach with a free style – eventually to be called "impressionism." A close study of Ferris’s paintings shows traces of this influence.

Always drawn to American history, the young man gravitated in that direction when it came time to earn his own way in the world. However, it was the financial, as well as the moral, support of his family that enabled him to keep painting.

His first major painting, "General Howe’s Levee, 1777," was sold in 1898, when he was 35 years old. Upon reflection, he regretted selling it because his dream of putting together the American epic in a series of paintings would not work if they were sold off individually.

And so, with the arrival of the new century, J. L. G. Ferris buckled down to his life’s major work, the creation of that saga in oils. He vowed never again to sell these paintings.

To support himself he did book and magazine illustrations, miscellaneous historical paintings not part of his special series, and – of great interest to us – sold reproduction rights to the many pictures he was creating for his epic saga.

Sometime around 1908 several publishers began marketing prints of Ferris’s artwork. These came in all sizes, with some intended for framing. Schools, banks and government offices often adorned their walls with them. Many others were sold as souvenirs to be saved in scrap albums as special treasures. The prints were on sale at five-and-dimes, stationery shops and other stores coast to coast, though a few quality editions of art gallery beauty were found in upscale emporiums.

During the first half of the 20th century, a couple of publishers produced calendars with illustrations from the paintings. Brown and Bigelow’s rank among the best of these.

The Ferris collection also inspired many postcards. A few will be found on the older pre-1920 cards. The most reproduced of all his scenes is "Lincoln and the Contrabands, " showing the president with a group of former slaves in the occupied South at war’s end.

International Art Co. used it for one of its unnumbered postcards. The company also printed many of the pictures as blank back trade cards for use by advertisers, such as H. D. Foss & Co. Quality Premier Chocolate (Boston) and Dr. D. Jayne’s Family Medicines Co. (maker of patent medicines), which added its own promotional messages.

The paintings showed up on other postcards, as well, mostly by small publishers, including linen-style printings of the. 1930s. In the post-World War II era, quite a few were published as sharp quality chromes, especially for sale during the American Bicentennial celebration of 1976.

In modern times the most effective use of the great historical paintings of Ferris on the postcard form was a group by a Michigan firm, Paw Paw Plastics Laminating Service, Inc. In 1972 they printed and sold an 18-card large size, chrome-like set. As late as 1984 these were still being sold at retail for $5 a set.

After being exhibited for many years at the Smithsonian and elsewhere, the paintings eventually returned to the Ferris family who licensed the use of their images to a number of firms. J. L. G. Ferris had died in 1930.

Today, prints in good condition, depending upon age, sell for $10 to $25. Framed large prints carry larger price tags. Old postcards are in the $8 to $10 range; the various trade cards go for a bit more. Postcards of the 1930s to 1980s usually sell for $3 to $5.

There has been a growing demand for such prints and postcards over the last couple of decades and availability is not as good as it used to be. Ferris’s interpretation of America’s past is greatly loved today, especially in these highly patriotic times.

Voir aussi:

Angelina Jolie refuse de fêter Thanksgiving

Jennifer Delattre

L’Express

25/11/2010

Pour la compagne de Brad Pitt, il s’agirait de la "célébration d’un meurtre".

Alors que la majorité des foyers américains s’apprête à célébrer Thanksgiving autour d’un festin, Angelina Jolie aurait décidé de ne pas se conformer à la tradition. Un proche de la famille Jolie-Pitt rapporte au site PopEater que "célébrer ce que les colonisateurs blancs ont fait aux Indiens américains, la domination d’une culture sur une autre, ce n’est juste pas le style [d'Angelina]. Elle ne veut pas apprendre à ses enfants à fêter ce qu’elle considère comme un meurtre."

Ce n’est pas le point de vue de Brad Pitt qui, lors de la première du film Megamind, avait déclaré à Extra "Je ne suis pas vraiment sûr de l’endroit où l’on fêtera Thanksgiving, mais ce sera certainement à l’étranger" -car Angelina est actuellement en Europe de l’Est pour le tournage de son dernier film- avant d’ajouter "On trouvera bien une dinde quelque part."

Voir enfin:

The Pilgrims seen through native American eyes

Charles C. Mann

Delancey place

11/24/10

‘In today’s encore excerpt – Thanksgiving. The meeting in 1621 between "Squanto," other Native Americans and the Pilgrims, as seen from the perspective of those Native Americans:

"On March 22, 1621, an official Native American delegation walked through what is now southern New England to negotiate with a group of foreigners who had taken over a recently deserted Indian settlement. At the head of the party was an uneasy triumvirate: Massasoit, the sachem (political-military leader) of the Wampanoag confederation, a loose coalition of several dozen villages that controlled most of southeastern Massachusetts; Samoset, sachem of an allied group to the north; and Tisquantum ['Squanto'], a distrusted captive whom Massasoit had reluctantly brought along as an interpreter.

"Massasoit was an adroit politician but the dilemma he faced would have tested Machiavelli. About five years before, most of his subjects had fallen before a terrible calamity. Whole villages had been depopulated [from disease] – indeed the foreigners ahead now occupied one of the empty sites. It was all he could do to hold together the remnants of his people. Adding to his problems, the disaster had not touched the Wampanoag’s longtime enemies – the Narragansett alliance to the west. Soon Massasoit feared they would take advantage of the Wampanoag’s weakness and overrun them.

"Desperate threats require desperate countermeasures. In a gamble Massasoit intended to abandon, even reverse, a long-standing policy. Europeans had been visiting New England for at least a century. Shorter than the natives, oddly dressed, and often unbearably dirty, the pallid foreigners had peculiar blue eyes that peeped out of the masks of bristly animal-like hair that encased their faces. They were irritatingly garrulous, prone to fits of chicanery, and often surprisingly incompetent at what seemed to Indians like basic tasks. But they also made useful and beautiful goods – copper kettles, glittering colored glass, and steel knives and hatchets – unlike anything else in New England. Moreover they would exchange these valuable items for cheap furs of the sort used by Indians as blankets. It was like happening upon a dingy kiosk that would swap fancy electronic goods for customers’ used socks. …

"Over time the Wampanoag, like other native societies in coastal New England, had learned how to manage the European presence. They encouraged the exchange of goods, but would only allow their visitors to stay ashore for brief, carefully controlled excursions. … Now Massasoit was visiting a group of British with the intent of changing the rules. He would permit the newcomers to stay for an unlimited time – provided they formally allied with the Wampanoag against the Narragansett.

"Tisquantum the interpreter had shown up alone at Massasoit’s home a year and a half before. He spoke fluent English because he had lived for several years in Britain. But Massasoit didn’t trust him. … And he refused to use him to negotiate with the colonists until he had another independent means of communication with them. … Their meeting was a critical moment in American history. The foreigners called their colony Plymouth; they themselves were the famous Pilgrims. As schoolchildren learn, at that meeting the Pilgrims obtained the services of Tisquantum – usually known as ‘Squanto.’

"[In our high school texts the story is told that] ‘a friendly Indian named Squanto helped the colonists. He showed them how to plant corn and how to live on the edge of the wilderness. A soldier Captain Miles Standish taught the Pilgrims how to defend themselves against unfriendly Indians.’ The story isn’t wrong so far as it goes. But the impression it gives is entirely misleading."

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2 réponses à Exposition Jean-Léon Gérome: Devinez qui a vendu Thanksgiving aux Américains? (Another reason to hate Thanksgiving: The French made me do it)

  1. [...] avant de s’identifier à l’Amérique, pour le meilleur et pour le pire. Daniel Bermond Après Thanksgiving,… la Statue de la Liberté ! Nouvel exemple, révélé par l’actuelle rétrospective Gérôme [...]

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