Collection: J.J. Grandville

Some of these lovely images are from The Stars, The Last Fairies by the French artist JJ Grandville (1803-1847). Others are from his extensive body of work, including Un autre monde (1843-44) and Métamorphoses du jour, which established his fame worldwide. The work is comprised of a series of seventy hand-colored lithographs in which individuals with the bodies of men and faces of animals play out a human comedy of Parisian life. 

Grandville told his wife on the day he began these 12 designs for The Stars, The Last Fairies : "For too long I have kept my eyes lowered to the earth; now I want to lift them to the heavens."

Nearly every plate depicts celestial stars personified as women in mid-19. Most are signed by Grandville, who designed them, and Charles Geoffroy, who engraved them. 

The famous French poet, Charles Baudelaire, who wrote essays about the major caricaturists and illustrators of his day, said that French artist J. J. Grandville frightened him.

In an essay published in Écrits sur l’art in 1857, Baudelaire wrote, “There are superficial people whom Grandville amuses, but as for me, he frightens me. When I enter into Grandville’s work, I feel a certain discomfort, like in an apartment where disorder is systematically organized, where bizarre cornices rest on the floor, where paintings seem distorted by an optic lens, where objects are deformed by being shoved together at odd angles, where furniture has its feet in the air, and where drawers push in instead of pulling out.”