antique prints, maps and watercolors

Sem (Les Acacias) Paris, October 1906. Framed Sold

click for detailed image Sem Acadias.JPG

“Les Acacias.” Printed Paris 1906.  


Georges Goursat (1863 – 1934) was a French caricaturist known as “Sem.” In 1888 Goursat self- published three albums of caricatures, signing them "SEM." It is thought that this was in tribute to the early 19th century French caricaturist and lithographer Charles Amédée de Noé, who signed his caricatures for the periodical “Le Monde Illustré”as "Cham."

A charming and talented man, Goursat was working in Paris at the time of the opening of the Universal Exposition in 1900 where the Art Nouveau style in architecture and decoration was hugely popular. His inspiration came from observing French high society enjoying life at restaurants, at the opera and at the races. Goursat actually chose horse racing as his way of entry to French "Beau Monde." Just three months after his arrival to Paris he self published an album titled “Le Turf” with caricatures of many prominent Parisians. The success of this album made him famous overnight.

Goursat supported himself selling illustrations both humorous and serious to the French major periodicals of the day. He put together albums of caricatures depicting high society in Monte Carlo, Deauville, the Cote d’Azur, and Paris. He wrote articles and created posters illustrating the tourist towns of Deauville, Cannes and Monte Carlo. His art is particularly associated with the Belle Epoque and his unique style of drawing brought him great success and fame.

The printing method Goursat utilized is called pochoir. It was a technique of creating prints by applying color and line with cutout stencils. Some pochoir prints utilized thirty stencils for a single image.

This oblong folio original pochoir print was one of a group of six depicting high society traveling through the Bois de Bologne and is a wonderful example and historically significant as reference to Belle Epoque France. Goursat uses the format to gently skewer members of the Jockey Club of Paris. The Jockey Club was a private sporting club opened in 1834 as “La Societe d’Encouragement pour l’Amelioration des Races de Chevaux (The Society for the Encouragement of the Improvement of Horse Breeding). Quickly establishing itself as a magnet for the social elite of Belle Epoque France, the club was headquartered above the Grand Café of the Scribe hotel convenient to the Longchamp racecourse. The panorama shows members of the club headed through the Boulogne woods to the Longchamp races.

Pochoir print
14” x 40.5 inches sheet, 18 x 45 inches outside frame size.
Sharp impression repaired tear in centerfold, very good condition.