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Janurary 22, 2008

Exhibition Les histoires en images, ancêtres de la bande dessinée
Cartoons in 19th Century Québec Satirical Newspapers

Montréal, Janurary 22, 2008 – In the 19th century, many original cartoonists graced the pages of satirical newspapers published in Canada, such as Le Charivari canadien, La Scie illustrée and Le Canard. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) presents a chronological review of the drawings that predated cartoons in Québec in the exhibition entitled Les histoires en images, ancêtres de la bande dessinée [Illustrated stories: Precursors to cartoons], at the Grande Bibliothèque from January 22 to May 4, 2008.

Les histoires en images

The colourful illustrated stories, brought together by cartoon specialist Mira Falardeau, the exhibition's curator, entertained our ancestors from 1844 to 1904. Skilful and inventive cartoonists such as Jean-Baptiste Côté, Henri Julien and Hector Berthelot created a handful of comical characters: Pacot, the lazy civil servant, Benjamin Gigot, the perpetual student, the exuberant actresses of the Théâtre Royal and old man Ladébauche, the archetypal outspoken and unruly French-Canadian.

Their adventures and those of several others delighted readers of the many and often short-lived satirical newspapers. Well before the advent of radio, these printed works represented the main vehicle for humour in the media and provided a new platform for Quebecers, who had the last laugh at their own expense.

The exhibition will consist of around sixty reproductions of the most significant drawings. These stories told in pictures, mainly drawn from BAnQ's rich collections of journals and newspapers, are priceless chronicles of 19th century society. "They represent a formal and analytical testimony to this period of intellectual vitality which started in Lower Canada with the Patriotes Rebellion and continued with the advent of large-circulation press at the turn of the 20th century," explains Mira Falardeau.

During this period, a large part of the population "progressively made these social types and new roles their own and acquired a taste for self-deprecation" thanks to the cartoonists' inventiveness, adds the curator who, in February 2008, will publish with VLB éditeur Histoire de la bande dessinée au Québec. As it happens, the first chapter shares the exhibition's theme.

A specialist of comical images, Mira Falardeau was a teacher and has curated various exhibitions, including Les aventures de la BD québécoise, presented at the Musée du Québec in 1997, and Les débuts de la bande dessinée québécoise de 1904 à 1908, presented in 2004 by BAnQ. She is also the author of La bande dessinée au Québec (1994) and Histoire du cinéma d'animation au Québec (2006).

Complement exhibition

On Thursday, April 3, at 7 pm, curator Mira Falardeau will accompany enthusiasts for a guided tour of numerous satirical newspapers, profiles of cartoonists and a slew of comical characters.

The tour leaves from room M.450, level M of the Grande Bibliothèque
Number of places available: 25
Reservations at the Grande Bibliothèque's information and orientation desk, ground floor.

In brief

Exhibition Les histoires en images, ancêtres de la bande dessinée
January 22 to May 4, 2008
Exhibition curator: Mira Falardeau

Arts et littérature section, Grande Bibliothèque (Level 1)
475, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est, Montréal
Berri-UQAM metro station

Information: 514 873-1100 or 1 800 363-9028 -
Free admission
A BAnQ production


Top About Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) is a cultural institution whose mission is to acquire, preserve and disseminate the publications, archival documents and films constituting Québec and Québec-related documentary heritage. It also offers all Quebecers free access ¿ on site, on the Internet and through interlibrary loan ¿ to vast universal collections and to the services of a major public library. BAnQ encompasses the Grande Bibliothèque, a preservation centre (Centre de conservation) and nine archives centres in Montréal, Québec City, Gatineau, Rimouski, Rouyn-Noranda, Saguenay, Sept-Îles, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières.

Our partners

Ville de Montréal. Fondation de BAnQ. Les Amis de BAnQ. Catalogue des bibliothèques du Québec. RDAQ. RFN.