Friday, March 9, 2012

Teletrips to Wonderland

As promised, I'm back with more work by the great Nicole Claveloux.

La main verte, 1978

I first met Claveloux while visiting Paris as a teenager in one of the numerous used
 comic books I had bought at a bouquiniste close to the Boulevard Saint Germain.
The story was called The Green Hand, and I was deeply struck by its surreal,
humorously dark atmosphere and vivid color palette. At the time I didn't know 
that Claveloux was also the illustrator of many innovative, oniric and 
psychedelic children's books, as I only discovered many years later.

Le Voyage extravagant de Hugo Brisefer, text by François Ruy-Vidal, 1968

After studying at the Beaux-Arts of Saint-Etienne, Claveloux moved to Paris in 1966 and found work
 as a magazine illustrator. The young educator, writer and publisher François Ruy-Vidal discovered her images 
in Marie-France and introduced her to his associate, the avant-garde American publisher Harlin Quist.
They asked Claveloux to illustrate a text by Ruy-Vidal, The Secret Journey of Hugo the Brat.
The book was published by Quist in France, Germany and the US.

Alala, les télémorphoses, text by Guy Monréal, Harlin Quist, 1970

Claveloux went on to illustrate many more books for Quist, including La Forêt des lilasThe teletrips of Alala,
Hop là [...]Le Chat de SimulombulaL'Oiseau qui radote, The Bright Red Porcupine and Gare à Grabote.
From 1968 to 1973 she teamed with Bernard Bonhomme to produce illustrations for ads, 
theater posters, record covers and children's books.

Alala, the main character of this fantastic tale which takes place in a futuristic setting, is a rebellious
 little girl who has the power to enter the television set and change the course of the programs. 
 The fact that Alala's father is a black prince and her mother is white shocked the American public,
and Quist claimed that the book cost him 88% of his audience.

Gertrude et la Sirène, text by Richard Hughes, Harlin Quist, 1971thanks to Ang Wyman
Gertrude is a wooden doll who endures in silence the abuses of a little girl so that she can sleep 
every night in her cozy bed. One day a mermaid enters their lives, and after many adventures
 and troubles Gertrude eventually leaves and discovers her freedom. This book was followed by 
L'Enfant de Gertrude, in which the abusive relationship between the child and the doll is reversed. 
These two rather dark and haunting stories focus on the desires, frustrations and cruelties of chilhood,
while the ending gives hope of a real encounter between the two protagonists.

Les Aventures d'Alice au pays des merveillesGrasset, 1974

This edition of Lewis Carroll's classic is another masterpiece of psychedelic imagery.

thanks to Alicenations for its post on this book

To date, Claveloux has illustrated a hundred books for numerous French publishers 
including Éditions des Femme, Gallimard Jeunesse and Bayard Hachette Jeunesse. 
She also paints and illustrates erotic books.


  1. Thank you very much Laura! What an incredible discovering for me! New from sixties! Thanks again...

  2. Ciao, Laura — thank you for posting this! Nicole Claveloux's work is really awe inspiring, especially when grouped together like this. My mind is well and truly blown.
    (PS I know the exact bouquiniste you refer to: Boulinier! It's still there, still enticing people like us to spend happy hours poring over all kinds of books...)

  3. Very groovy work - of course the children's books are my favorite!

  4. I am glad you hotlinked to my Claveloux scans, or else I wouldn't been able to see the other awesome works of hers, thank you for this post

  5. Wonderland bear!



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