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Claude Gillot: Satire in the Age of Reason

Jennifer Tonkovich
240 pages
9 1/2 x 11 inches

The first volume on the French designer, painter, and illustrator to be published in English, Claude Gillot: Satire in the Age of Reason explores Gillot’s inventive draftsmanship and places his work in the context of the artistic and intellectual activity in Paris around 1700.

The history of eighteenth-century French art under the ancien régime is dominated by great names. But the artistic scene in Paris at the dawn of the century was diverse and included artists who forged careers largely outside of the Royal Academy. Among them was Claude Gillot (1673–1722), known primarily as a draftsman who specialized in witty scenes of satire. He found inspiration in the more uncommon subjects of his time: the irreverent commedia dell’arte performances at fairground theaters, the writings of satirists who waged the Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns, and the antics of vice-ridden satyrs whose bacchanals exposed human folly. This book addresses Gillot’s innovative artistic approach and advances a chronology of his unique career, which attracted the likes of Antoine Watteau and Nicolas Lancret, two of the most talented artists of the next generation.

Through an artist biography and six chapters devoted to his oeuvre by Jennifer Tonkovich, Eugene and Clare Thaw Curator at the Morgan Library & Museum, the catalogue comprehensively explores Gillot’s amusing critiques and rational perspective that heralded the advent of the Age of Reason, securing his position as a highly original artist who pushed boundaries during a time of great precarity. Published by the Morgan Library & Museum in association with Paul Holberton Publishing

In the press:

“As beautifully proposed in ‘Claude Gillot: Satire in the Age of Reason’—a novel, revelatory exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum organized by Jennifer Tonkovich, curator of prints and drawings—the artist’s neglected story and oeuvre are ripe for another look.”
Wall Street Journal

“Until now, there has been no full-length study of Gillot in English, which makes Jennifer Tonkovich’s book very welcome. Produced to accompany an exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, it stands on its own as a major work of scholarship.”
The Art Newspaper

"[The] artist shines, delivering proto-rococo gaiety with a delightful edge."
The New Yorker

"As an exhibition, ‘Satire in the Age of Reason’ is sly, subtle, and winning.”
The New York Sun


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