Word and Image in Late 19th-Century Paris

Alfred Jarry, Le Chanson du décervelage (The Debraining Song), 1898
Sep 01, 2006 - Mar 11, 2007
European Galleries

Prominent within this display of Parisian avant-garde material are items representing the informal group activity dubbed Le Mur (The Wall) and the creations of the artists who comprised the Incohérents. Le Mur was inaugurated in 1894 at the Quat’z’Arts cabaret, one of the last examples of the Montmartre cabaret artistique, as an anti-journal and an alternative version of the official publication of the Quat’z’Arts. Somewhere between a bulletin board, graffiti writing, and an exhibition, Le Mur functioned as a collaborative “happening” with satirical glances at politics and the literary and art worlds, rather than a real publication intended for mass consumption.

Founded in 1882, the Incohérents were competent academic artists who nevertheless formed a proto-Dada anti-academic group that actively criticized and parodied the official Salon. One of the group’s first ideas was to “have an exhibition of drawings” made by people “who don’t know how to draw.” Like the later Dada artists, whom they inspired, the Incohérents raised questions about the nature of art by challenging existing technique, forms, and content.

Alfred Jarry

Le Chanson du décervelage (The Debraining Song)

Lithographic program cover for the puppet theater "Répertoire des Pantins"

Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers 

Museum Purchase, David A. and Mildred H. Morse Fund