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Pope & Merkel
Bill + Hillary
Schumi Gone
Gü Grass
H Böll
Jeremy I
Bellini 1
HRH Camila
Kalle L
William Marcy “Boss” Tweed, the corrupt political chief of New York,
offered the Bavarian-born cartoonist, Thomas Nast, $500,000 to go back
to Europe to “study art”. Tweed wasn't really a patron of the arts but he
knew what he didn't like: Nast's caricatures. As Tweed said, “Stop them
damned pictures. I don't care so much what the papers say about me. My
constituents don't know how to read, but they can read them damned
pictures”. From Charles Philipon - who turned King Louis Phillipe, by
stages, into a pear (a fool) - to Ralph Steadman eviscerating Margaret
Thatcher, caricaturists have dipped their pens and brushes into acid for
centuries. I'm sure a lowly Roman plebeian sketched an image of a bald
man with bulging eyes, bony knees and too long a neck as he watched
the great Julius Caesar striding across the Forum, much to the
amusement of his friends.

The honour roll of caricaturists is long: Gillray and Rowlandson, the
incomparable Daumier, Joseph Keppler and in the last century, Art
Young (arrested three times for “seditious” cartoons), Robert Minor and
more recently, the Brits: Ronald Searle, Ralph Steadman, Spitting
Images' Fluck and Law; the Americans: Robert Osborn, Jules Feifer and
David Levine; the Frenchmen: Mulatier, Ricord and Morchoisne. The
pompous politician, puffed-up entertainer and bragging business mogul
should all be wary of the caricaturist who sees through the cosmetic layer
of public relations and People Magazine hype to the human face

There is nothing the “great” fear so much as having the balloon of their
fame and reputation pricked. Wonderful caricatures may be sweet rather
than acid and just as effective. Witness
Patricia Ropohl's Madonna and
Child depiction of Prince Charles and Camilla, a twinkle-toed Luciano
Pavarotti or the cherubic Dalai Lama. Each reveal the all to human face
and personality concealed by fame. Boss Tweed had good reason to fear
the sharp pen of Thomas Nast. Despite fleeing to Spain to avoid charges
of corruption he could not escape “them damned pictures”. A local
policeman who could not read English recognised Tweed from a cartoon
in Harper's Weekly and arrested him. Tweed died several years later in the
New York jail his corrupt administration had built.

Jim Kempkes Toronto 2009

© Patricia Ropohl      Images on this site must not be reproduced for profit without the artist's express consent                                                                                                                              y!web © 1995-2017 ecky ropohl  -  all rights reserved