Here’s another post about an artist you’ve never heard of before, but you’ll never forget once you look at his work! My pal Tony "Superslice" Mora gave me this book as a birthday gift. It’s a real treasure.
Felix Lorioux was one of France’s best loved artists, but he was a humble, quiet man who did little to promote himself beyond his home country. He was born in 1872 and began as a fashion designer. But his childlike sense of wonder led him to a career as a children’s book illustrator. Walt Disney was impressed with his abilities and hired him to illustrate books for the French market based on Mickey Mouse and the Silly Symphonies. It has been said that a Lorioux illustration of a goose in a sailor suit may have even been the inspiration for Donald Duck. Around 1934, Disney revoked the contract and brought the work in house. Presumably, Walt felt that Lorioux’s illustrations were "off model" and wanted to standardize the look of the books featuring his characters. Ultimately, it was Disney’s loss, not Lorioux’s.
Lorioux went on to illustrate definitive editions of Perrault’s Fairy Tales, Don Quixote, the Fables of La Fontaine and Robinson Crusoe. However, he was most at home painting delicate watercolors of the birds, flowers and insects in his garden. He imagined fantastic worlds populated by these little creatures. This book, "Le Buffon des Enfants: Les Insectes de Chez Nous" is one of his greatest works. Tony was fortunate enough to stumble across a deluxe edition from 1946 that was limited to only 2000 copies. The print quality is astounding. Lorioux’s books are rarely seen in the United States.
I don’t have room on the blog to reproduce this entire book, but check out the way Lorioux incorporates his watercolors into the text of the book…
Here’s another jaw-droppingly beautiful book by Lorioux, Fables De La Fontaine…
If anyone reading this has more information about Lorioux or his work, feel free to share it in the comments.
This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.