Jules Claretie

Artist: Sem (Georges Goursat) French (1863-1934)

Title: Jules Claretie

Plate: sem.06

Description: Condition A
Original Pochoir (Hand coloured) lithograph from "Celebrites Contemporaines et la Benedictine", by Sem.
Printed by Devambez, Paris ca.1900. 
Signed in the plate lower left.

French Text by Jules Claretie at bottom reads, 
"Sancho (Panza) liked proverbs and I like proverbs. Of these proverbs there is one which seems at this moment to be appropriate: After having drunk a glass of Liqueur
 with dessert, nowadays one can say: weighty like a Benedictine monk or delicious like Benedictine. Jules Claretie"

Presented in 16 x 20 in. acid free, archival museum mat, with framing labels. Ready to frame. Shipped boxed flat via Fedex. 
Certificate of Authenticity.

Sheet Size: 6 1/4 in x 9 1/2in 16 cm x 24.5 cm

Price: $175.00


Jules Claretie (1840 - December 1913), was a French literary figure and director of the Théâtre Français. After studying at the lycée Bonaparte in Paris, he became a journalist, achieving great success as dramatic critic to Le Figaro and to the Opinion nationale. He was a newspaper correspondent during the Franco-German War, and during the Commune acted as staff-officer in the National Guard. In 1885 he became director of the Théâtre Français, and from that time devoted his time chiefly to its administration until his death. He was elected a member of the Académie française in 1888, and took his seat in February 1889, being received by Ernest Renan. The long list of his works includes: Histoire de la Révolution de 1870-1871 (5 vols., 1875-1876) and several plays, some of which are based on novels of his own. Claretie also wrote three operas for the music of Jules Massenet. (Encyclopædia Britannica 11th Edition)


"I would like . . . to group in a series of albums all the celebrities of the day, only the most illustrious and famous names. But to bring together so many important people, so occupied and not easily mobilized, I feared that my modest talent was not a sufficient enough attraction . . . So, to convince them, I had the idea to offer to them a glass of famous Benedictine . . . And, indeed, all answered my invitation with a unified eagerness as if I was flattering them." Sem


"So begins the introduction to Sem's eight-lithograph collection of celebrities praising the virtues of the liqueur, including famed aviator, Santos-Dumont, composer Massenet and actor Albert Brasseur. The career of caricaturist Sem started modestly enough in his home town of Perigueux where he published his first collection of local celebrities' portraits in 1895. Only after doing the same for Bordeaux in 1897 and Marseilles in 1898 did he venture to Paris where he charmed the city folk with his talent. Hardly anyone of note escaped being captured for posterity." (Rennert, PAI-XXVI, 557)




"In 1863, Alexandre Le Grand, a distant relation of the Fécamp notable, came across the book of spells by chance and discovered the secret recipe. Straight away, he decided to decipher it in order to re-create this mysterious liqueur. His tenacity enabled him eventually to do so. He modernised the recipe and called it "Benedictine". The liqueur soon became extremely popular: by 1873, production had reached almost 150,000 bottles a year. In light of this success, Alexandre Le Grand decided to set up the Benedictine SA company in June 1876, with capital of 2,200,000 francs. In 1882, Alexandre Le Grand decided to have a unique building built in Fécamp to house the distillery: a Palace-Museum. It is here, in this extraordinary place, that the famous liqueur is still made today." (Benedictine.fr)


Pochoir, French for stencil, defines a technique of print making popular in France in the early 1900s. It is a labor intensive process of applying brilliant color by hand using a series of cutout stencils. Each plate is an original print using up to thirty stencils in one image. All are hand colored and most are signed in the plate by the illustrator.