J.J. Grandville

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J.J. Grandville was the better-known pseudonym of Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard, a nineteenth-century French caricaturist whose work includes scenes of anthropomorphic animals.

Born September 13, 1803, in Nancy, France, Grandville learnt to drawn from his father, a painter of miniatures. At age 21, he travelled to Paris and published collections of lithographs.

Plate from Les Métamorphoses du jour.
Illustration from Scènes de la Vie Privée et Publique des Animaux.

The work which launched Grandville to fame was the 1828-29 work Les Métamorphoses du jour (Today's Metamorphosis), which featured seventy-two images of various animals in human situations. The public's attention was caught by the skill with which he imparted human emotions to the animals' faces.

Grandville's success lead to steady work contributing artwork to various periodicals, and supplying illustrations to editions of Don Quixote, Gulliver's Travels, and Robinson Crusoe. He also continued to publish collections of lithographs, including Les Fleurs Animées (Animated Flowers) (images of anthropomorphic flowers(!)), and Scènes de la Vie Privée et Publique des Animaux (Scenes of the Private and Public Lives of Animals) which contained further anthropomorphic animals.

In 1847, Grandville saw one of his children choke to death on a piece of bread beside him, and never recovered from the shock. He was admitted to the lunatic asylum in Vanves, where he died on March 17 of that year.


Grandville has sometimes been referred to as "a precursor of the surrealists", and his pre-furry fandom anthro art is believed to have inspired Sir John Tenniel's illustrations in the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

In 2006, Magic Realist Press released a deck of tarot card incorporating Grandville's images of anthropomorphic animals.

Bryan Talbot cited Grandville's work as an influence in his own work for Grandville.

In 2015, Grandville's illustrations formed the basis of the artwork in the game Aviary Attorney.

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