Henri Julien

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Henri Julien
Henri Julien.jpg
Photo of Henri Julien
BornOctave-Henri Julien
(1852-05-14)May 14, 1852
Quebec City, Province of Canada
DiedSeptember 17, 1908(1908-09-17) (aged 56)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Area(s) Cartoonist
  • Octavo
  • Crincrin
Self portrait Henri Julien autoportrait.jpg
Self portrait

Henri Julien, baptised Octave-Henri Julien (14 May 1852 – 17 September 1908) was a French Canadian artist and cartoonist noted for his work for the Canadian Illustrated News and for his political cartoons in the Montreal Daily Star . He was the first full-time newspaper editorial cartoonist in Canada. His pseudonyms include Octavo and Crincrin.

Artist person who creates, practises and/or demonstrates any art

An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art, practicing the arts, or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse is a practitioner in the visual arts only. The term is often used in the entertainment business, especially in a business context, for musicians and other performers. "Artiste" is a variant used in English only in this context; this use is becoming rare. Use of the term to describe writers, for example, is valid, but less common, and mostly restricted to contexts like criticism.

Cartoonist visual artist who makes cartoons

A cartoonist is a visual artist who specializes in drawing cartoons. This work is often created for entertainment, political commentary, or advertising. Cartoonists may work in many formats, such as booklets, comic strips, comic books, editorial cartoons, graphic novels, manuals, gag cartoons, graphic design, illustrations, storyboards, posters, shirts, books, advertisements, greeting cards, magazines, newspapers, and video game packaging.

<i>Canadian Illustrated News</i>

The Canadian Illustrated News was a weekly Canadian illustrated magazine published in Montreal from 1869 to 1883. It was published by George Desbarats.


Personal history and career

Octave-Henri Julien was born in Quebec City on 14 May 1852 to Henri and Zoé Julien and grew up in the Saint-Roch neighbourhood. [1] His father worked as a turner for a mechanical press and his brothers Émile and Télesphore also went on to work in printing. [2] Early influences on the boy include caricatures by the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Côté, [3] who lived nearby among the artisans of saint-Roche, and the country folk of nearby L'Ange-Gardien who inspired many of Julien's later drawings. [2]

Quebec City Provincial capital city in Quebec, Canada

Quebec City, officially Québec, is the capital city of the Canadian province of Quebec. The city had a population estimate of 531,902 in July 2016, and the metropolitan area had a population of 800,296 in July 2016, making it the second largest city in Quebec after Montreal, and the seventh largest metropolitan area and eleventh largest city in the country.

Saint-Roch is a downtown neighbourhood in the borough of La Cité in Quebec City, Canada. Once a working-class quarter, some of its parts have been redeveloped in recent years..

Jean-Baptiste Côté was a Canadian architect, wood-carver, glider, wood engraver, caricaturist, publisher, and printer. His reputation rests on his wood engravings, and on his being one of Canada's earliest cartoonists.

After the elder Julien won work with the Queen's printer George-Paschal Desbarats the family frequently moved as the capital of the Province of Canada moved: Toronto in 1855–59, Quebec City in 1859–65, and Ottawa in 1866–68, where he attended the College of Ottawa. He thereafter moved to Montreal where he apprenticed as an engraver at Leggo and Company, a partnership between William Leggo and George-Édouard Desbarats, where he met cartoonists such as Edward Jump who worked for Desbarats's illustrated magazines Canadian Illustrated News and L'Opinion publique  [ fr ]. [2]

George-Paschal Desbarats French-Canadian printer, publisher, businessman, and landowner

George-Paschal Desbarats was a French-Canadian printer, publisher, businessman, and landowner. From 1841 he co-held an exclusive contract as the Queen's printer.

Province of Canada 1841-1867 UK possession in North America

The Province of Canada was a British colony in North America from 1841 to 1867. Its formation reflected recommendations made by John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham in the Report on the Affairs of British North America following the Rebellions of 1837–1838.

Toronto Provincial capital city in Ontario, Canada

Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the most populous city in Canada, with a population of 2,731,571 in 2016. Current to 2016, the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA), of which the majority is within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), held a population of 5,928,040, making it Canada's most populous CMA. Toronto is the anchor of an urban agglomeration, known as the Golden Horseshoe in Southern Ontario, located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A global city, Toronto is a centre of business, finance, arts, and culture, and is recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Julien cartooned in Desbarats's employ until 1888; during this time he contributed to numerous other publications as well, including Le Canard and Le Violon published by Hector Berthelot, sometimes under pseudonyms such as Crincrin [2] (in Le Violon from 1878 to 1903) [3] and Octavo. His work included caricatures of politicians and illustrated journalism. In 1874 he accompanied George Arthur French and the North-West Mounted Police on an expedition to the fork of the Bow and Belly Rivers in Alberta; his drawings of the Canadian West appeared in the Canadian Illustrated News and L'Opinion publique in 1874–75, [2] including a report on combatting contraband alcohol sales in Fort Whoop-Up. [3]

Hector Berthelot was a Canadian lawyer, journalist, columnist, satirist, caricaturist, photographer and publisher who was born in Trois-Rivières. He was not married and died in Montreal. He is most well known for founding various satirical magazines, of which Le Canard was the most famous.

George Arthur French British Army general

Major General Sir George Arthur French, was a British Army officer who served as the first Commissioner of the North-West Mounted Police, from October 1873 to July 1876, and as Commandant of the colonial military forces in Queensland (1883–91) and New South Wales (1896–1902)

North-West Mounted Police

The North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) was a Canadian police force, established in 1873 by the Prime Minister, Sir John Macdonald, to maintain order in the North-West Territories. The mounted police combined military, police and judicial functions along similar lines to the Royal Irish Constabulary, and deployed the following year to the Alberta border in response to the Cypress Hills Massacre and subsequent fears of a United States military intervention. Their ill-planned and arduous journey of nearly 900 miles (1,400 km) became known as the March West and was portrayed by the force as an epic journey of endurance. Over the next few years, the police extended Canadian law across the region, establishing good working relationships with the First Nations. The force formed part of the military response to the North-West Rebellion in 1885, but faced criticism for their performance during the conflict.

Julien spent six months in New York in 1888; upon his return to Canada the same year he became artistic director at the Montreal Daily Star , [3] which thus became the first Canadian newspaper to employ a full-time editorial cartoonist. [4] Julien stayed with the paper for 22 years and built his reputation illustrating historical even and journalistic pieces, as well as drawing caricatures of members of Parliament in the House of Commons in Ottawa. He drew notice in 1897–1900 when he had published a number of caricatures of Wilfrid Laurier and his cabinet as blackface minstrels under the title "By-Town Coons". His best known work was of rural French Canadians which he started making about 1875 and continued for the rest of his life. From 1900 he took up painting, particularly commissions for scenes from French Canadian culture. [2] His works appeared in exhibitions at the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1899 and 1907 and at the Salon of the Art Association of Montreal in 1908. [3]

Wilfrid Laurier 7th prime minister of Canada

Sir Henri Charles Wilfrid Laurier was the seventh prime minister of Canada, in office from 11 July 1896 to 6 October 1911.

Blackface form of theatrical makeup

Blackface is a form of theatrical make-up used predominantly by non-black performers to represent a caricature of a black person. The practice gained popularity during the 19th century and contributed to the spread of racial stereotypes such as the "happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation" or the "dandified coon". By the middle of the century, blackface minstrel shows had become a distinctive American artform, translating formal works such as opera into popular terms for a general audience. Early in the 20th century, blackface branched off from the minstrel show and became a form in its own right. In the United States, blackface had largely fallen out of favor by the turn of the 21st century, and is now generally considered offensive and disrespectful, though the practice continues in other countries.

Royal Canadian Academy of Arts

The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA) is a Canadian arts-related organization that was founded in 1880.

Le remede futur a la corruption electorale, 19 August 1875 Le remede futur a la corruption electorale.jpg
Le remède futur à la corruption électorale, 19 August 1875

Julien drew with speed and accuracy [5] and attracted note for his skill at capturing expressions and gestures. [3] He illustrated the annual L'Almanach du peuple  [ fr ] and his work appeared in other Canadian publications such as John Wilson Bengough's Grip, Desbarats's Dominion Illustrated , Favourite, Jester, Canard, and Grelot, as well as foreign publications such as the American Harper's Weekly , the British The Graphic , and the French Le Monde illustré and L'Illustration . [3]

John Wilson Bengough Canadian cartoonist and politician

John Wilson Bengough was one of Canada's earliest cartoonists, as well as an editor, publisher, writer, poet, entertainer, and politician. Bengough is best remembered for his political cartoons in Grip, a satirical magazine he published and edited, which he modelled after the British humour magazine Punch. He published some cartoons under the pen name L. Côté.

<i>Harpers Weekly</i>

Harper's Weekly, A Journal of Civilization was an American political magazine based in New York City. Published by Harper & Brothers from 1857 until 1916, it featured foreign and domestic news, fiction, essays on many subjects, and humor, alongside illustrations. It carried extensive coverage of the American Civil War, including many illustrations of events from the war. During its most influential period, it was the forum of the political cartoonist Thomas Nast.

<i>The Graphic</i> British periodical literature

The Graphic was a British weekly illustrated newspaper, first published on 4 December 1869 by William Luson Thomas's company Illustrated Newspapers Limited.

Julien married Marie-Louise Legault dit Deslauriers (d. 1924) in Montreal on 17 October 1876; of the couple's eighteen children, seven daughters and one son survived into adulthood. Julien died in Montreal on 17 September 1908. [2] of a sudden stroke of apoplexy on St. James Street across from the St. Lawrence Hall. He had just left the Montreal Star in apparent good health with his son. [6] At the time he was developing sketches for a parade to celebrate Quebec's 300th anniversary. [2]


The sculptor Louis-Philippe Hébert eulogized Julien as "the most original talent in this country". [lower-alpha 1] A posthumous collection of his cartoons appeared in the Album Henri Julien in 1916. [3]

The architect William Sutherland Maxwell toured an exhibition of 125 unpublished works by Julien in 1936. The show visited Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec in Quebec City. The National Gallery of Canada organized a retrospective of Julien's work in 1938, a unique event for a cartoonist in Canada. [3]

A print by Henri Julien of the "Royal Military College of Canada Uniform of Cadets", which appeared in the Canadian Illustrated News is in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. Accession Number: 19850291-004. [7] The gallery L'Art français exhibited his works in 1968. [8]

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec holds the most important collection of Julien's work, including La Chasse-galerie, Julien's best-known painting, inspired by a French-Canadian legend about a flying canoe. [3]

List of books


  1. "le talent le plus original ... en ce pays" [3]

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  1. Guilbault 1994, pp. 533–534.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Guilbault 1994, p. 534.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Karel 1992, p. 425.
  4. Spencer 2013, p. 57.
  5. Guilbault 1994, p. 535.
  6. Montreal Gazette staff 1908, p. 12.
  7. Gouvernement du Canada, Ministère du Patrimoine canadien. "Artefacts Canada". app.pch.gc.ca.
  8. "Erudit revues culturelles". retro.erudit.org.
Illustration of the Assembly of the Six Counties, drawn for The Montreal Star. Colonne de la liberte (Quebec).png
Illustration of the Assembly of the Six Counties, drawn for The Montreal Star .

Works cited

Further reading