Title: Monsieur and Madame Always-Soif in a good mood.
Author : ANONYMOUS (-)
Dimensions: Height 36 - Width 56
Technique and other indications: Full title: Monsieur and Madame Always-Soif in good spirits, Jean Always-Soif, captain of the invincible company of beer drinkers, Madame Always-Soif, née du Café, president of the Société des Soeurs de la Cafetière between 1830 and 1837. of thread, colored print, stencil, laid. Production site: chez de Deckherr, France, Montbéliard.
Storage location: MuCEM website
Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzisite web
Picture reference: 04-001279 / Inv.77.80.44D
Monsieur and Madame Always-Soif in a good mood.
© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzi
Publication date: January 2006
Montbéliard was, between 1800 and 1850, one of the capitals of popular imagery, along with Épinal or Wissembourg. The Deckherr brothers, who produced M.r and M.me ALWAYS THIRD in good humor, had a shop in this town. While in Switzerland they made the very serious official administration documents and the Jura Journal, in the Doubs, on the other hand, they specialized in cheap and moralizing publishing. They also made some humorous woodcuts like this one.
The constraints of cheap manufacturing lead to an original use of the relationship between text and iconography.
To prove to the viewer that the intolerant is a spendthrift and ruins his family, the sign on which the character's words are transcribed states "By drinking everything in my lifetime, what have I to do with a will? ". At the same time, the print shows a broken tile.
Through a poem all in rhyming embraces and octosyllables, Jean Always-Soif says "every day emptying twelve pots" to be "cheerful, ready and of a respectable plumpness". Likewise, the drinker experiences the effects of alcohol on their body. He has taken on the golden yellow color of beer, he is literally round with his hat hanging askew on his head and his waistcoat unbuttoned over his huge belly; it looks like beer containers: it is pot-bellied like a muid or a barrel. He holds a mug in one hand and a pipe in the other as a reminder that the tartness of tobacco goes naturally well with the bitterness of beer.
Unlike her husband, Madame Always-Soif, who "drinks neither beer nor wine, But coffee, evening and morning", is elegant, well-dressed and seated very upright in her seat.
In this engraving intended for mass distribution, the artist humorously denounces the effects of alcohol abuse. But why did he choose to show a drinker of beer and not of wine, when, throughout the XIXe century, the beer market is spreading only slightly beyond the border regions of the North and East? Presumably because, based in Franche-Comté, it primarily targets regional customers. Perhaps also because, from the 1830s, beer, less alcoholic than wine, began to benefit from favorable prejudices and was seen as a panacea that nourished, “quenches thirst” and possesses diuretic virtues.
Coffee, introduced in France under Louis XIV, is also, in the XIXe century, adorned with all the virtues. Napoleon's favorite drink, "caoua", which increases endurance by delaying the onset of fatigue and promotes intellectual tasks, becomes the reverse of alcohol. If, against all expectations, he is criticized here, it is perhaps because, at the very moment when this image is fabricated by the Deckherr brothers, a new belief is emerging, conveyed by misogynist doctors and popularized by the historian Jules Michelet. According to this legend, this "sober liquor, powerfully cerebral", by making the elites temperance, would certainly have stimulated the Encyclopedists ... but it would also have helped to distance women, who can no longer do without, love and love. family life. So Madame Always-Thirst, who claims that coffee is "indispensable" to her, asks herself: "Rather all men hate, Than the cup of coffee to flee?" "
- popular imagery
Dominique LERCH, "Almanachs, blue library, imagery", in Bulletin de la Société d'Émulation de Montbéliard, n ° 112, 1990, p.197-295. Jules MICHELET, Histoire de France, tome XVII, Paris, Lacroix et Cie publishers, 1877 (reprint Paris, Robert Laffont, collection "Bouquins", 1998). Antoine MONAQUE, "The illustration in the primer printed by the Deckherr in Porrentruy and Montbéliard (1810-1860)", in Library of the School of Charters, volume 158, 2000.
To cite this article
Myriam TSIKOUNAS, "The stereotypes of the drinker"