Item DescriptionFor this Psst…! cover, Jean-Louis Forain depicts a German military officer fastening a mask of Emile Zola, identified through his half-rim glasses and bulbous forehead, onto an anonymous Jew. Zola’s demands for checks and balances on the military should be understood, Forain seemingly suggests, as a cheap masquerade. Behind this flimsy charade, the public would discover an imposter, not a patriot, who concealed actual alliances with the Germans and the Jews. Psst…! issued this cover following Zola’s second conviction for his article “J’Accuse!”, which had been published in Georges Clemenceau’s daily L’Aurore. The homme de lettres fled to England shortly thereafter.
Forain resided in Montmartre where anti-Semitic sentiment flowed as freely as the watered-down alcohol in the district’s celebrated café-concerts. There, he consorted with caricaturists such as Caran d’Ache, who shared his anti-Semitism and his disdain for bourgeois hypocrisies nightly displayed at the cabarets. Both men collaborated on the anti-Dreyfusard weeky Psst…!