At the Foot of Mount Sinai


On January 13, 1898, Georges Clemenceau, politician, journalist, and cofounder and owner of the newspaper L’Aurore (The dawn), published in his newspaper the famous manifesto J’accuse (I accuse) by Émile Zola, defending Captain Alfred Dreyfus against charges of treason and espionage motivated by anti-Semitism. Only three months later, Clemenceau published Au Pied du Sinaï (At the foot of Mount Sinai). The work includes a collection of portraits of Jewish people from Galicia that might easily be characterized as anti-Semitic. Clemenceau was, however, a staunch defender of Dreyfus and, the illustrations notwithstanding, the text mostly expresses his admiration for the energy of the Jewish people, who were able to overcome hatred and persecution, thanks to their “most precious gift of turning an idea into action.” Very fond of the artistic movements of his time, Clemenceau had publicly praised the crayon mordant (biting pen) of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec in 1894, which is why he asked him to illustrate Au Pied du Sinaï. The illustrations consist of ten lithographs, a cover, and a cul-de-lampe (typographical ornament). The edition presented here was limited to 380 copies and printed on special paper.

Last updated: January 8, 2018