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Closeout Price! Highly Recommended. Limited, 1500. In 1946, at the height of his talent, Calvo wrote and drew this magnificent primer for children, with bright colors and incredible animation-style artwork. Joyful circus animals overflowing with vitality perform their numbers illustrating each letter of the alphabet (in French). This is as amazing as any Disney animation from the Golden Age…and has never been reproduced better. Nearly all the illustrations are from the original drawings. 9eArt+ Editions.

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In 1946, at the height of his talent, Calvo wrote and drew this magnificent primer for children, with bright colors and incredible animation-style artwork. Joyful circus animals overflowing with vitality perform their numbers illustrating each letter of the alphabet (in French). This is as amazing as any Disney animation from the Golden Age…and has never been reproduced better. Nearly all the illustrations are from the original drawings.

The rich colors and lively anthropomorphic animals are a delight. Mice, Polar Bears, Alligators, Wolves, Leopards, Giraffes, Monkeys, Zebras, Reindeer, Parrots…all are cavorting about with wild energy, tossing dishes, jumping, playing instruments, dancing, bucking, balancing acts, walking on balls, it’s non-stop fun chaos.

I’ve collected Calvo’s work since the 1970s and never come across a copy of the original edition of this. It’s a delight cover to cover. Ok, it’s in French, but the pictures tell the entire story!

Edmond-François Calvo:

Born in 1892 in Elbeuf, France, he was in the army in the First World War, and started publishing cartoons in the 1920s. He had many different jobs, including working as a woodcarver and an innkeeper, until 1938 when he became a full-time artist. Most of his work had animals as the main characters, which together with his popularity and productivity gave him the nickname “The French Walt Disney”.

His best known work is La bête est morte (The Beast is Dead). It began clandestinely in 194 and was published as a book after the liberation of France, in two parts, in 1944-1945, a satire on the second World War with the different countries depicted as different animals, a style that would later be used by Art Spiegelman in his graphic novel Maus.

The story was written by Victor Dancette and Jacques Zimmermann, and the album was translated into English and Dutch. Other well-known works include Patamousse (1943-1946), about a rabbit, and Rosalie from 1946, where the main character wasn’t an animal but a living car.

Cricri souris d’appartement became the eponymous series for Cricri magazine. His last major series was Moustache et Trottinette (1952-1958), which was continued after his death by Jean Trubert.

He also contributed cartoons to satirical magazines like Le Canard enchaîné, and was active as a sculptor.

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