Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The House of Editorial Cartooning in Paris

This message is to give you, editorial cartoonists, an update on the project of the Maison du dessin de presse. 

In April 2023, the call for tenders for the Maison du dessin de presse project was published and will allow the selection of the architect who will develop the site.

The functions of the Maison du dessin de presse, as planned since the beginning of the project, are included in this call for tenders.

On the creation side, a dedicated room will be built to host professional events, scientific seminars and live performances about press cartoons and related themes (freedom of expression, access to information, right to criticism, drawing in its aesthetic dimension, etc.). 

Space will also be provided to host press cartoonists in residence (without on-site accommodation), inspired by the artistic and journalistic residencies practiced in the cultural sector.

On the museum side, two exhibition spaces are still planned: a permanent exhibition that will tell the story of press cartoons from its' origins at the end of the 18th century to the present day, as well as space for temporary exhibitions.

The permanent exhibition will focus on press cartoons in France, but will also include a focus on other countries, so that visitors will understand that press cartoons are not only a French subject and that influences are constantly being exerted between different countries. 

Current events will of course be featured in this exhibition, but not exclusively, as press cartoons cover many other fields (reports, views on society, courtroom illustrations, etc.).

Conceived by specialists on the history of press cartoons and the project's steering committee, this permanent exhibition will represent a real innovation in terms of showcasing press cartoons. 

The exhibition space will be air-conditioned and will therefore be able to accommodate original works on loan (as the Maison du dessin de presse will not itself keep any collections). 

An agreement is being drawn up with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, so that the very rich collections of this institution can be presented in the Maison du dessin de presse. 

Front page of «La Semaine illustrée», Titanic shipwreck, 1912.

But reproductions on physical or digital support are also planned.

The temporary exhibition space, which will also be air-conditioned to accommodate original works, will allow visitors to discover a wide variety of subjects: retrospectives of the work of cartoonists, drawings related to a given theme, drawings published in a given newspaper, etc.

At the crossroads of creation and the museum dimension, mediation will be the third major mission of the Maison du dessin de presse. 

It will of course involve schoolchildren, but also groups of adults. 

The Maison du dessin de presse will try to complete all the individual or associative initiatives that already exist in the field of press cartoons. 

In particular, it will rely on the works presented in the exhibitions, on the creative events and on the cartoonists in residence to propose an original mediation action, in connection of course with all the private and public actors who are already involved.

The target opening date is still the beginning of 2026. 

It was recently confirmed by the Ministry of Culture, which is the funder of this project. 

This is a very tight schedule, as the building's layout will be very important, especially to create air-conditioned exhibition spaces and comply with security requirements.

Between now and the opening to the public, the website of the Maison du dessin de presse should be up by the end of 2023, which involves the recruitment of a person in charge of this site. 

Several partnerships are also considered to realize exhibitions with other institutions or to organize seminars  on press cartoons and related themes.

Philippe Barbat
Foreshadower of the Maison du dessin de presse

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