Cham was born in 1818 as Amédée Comte de Noé. He received drawing lessons from Charlet and painting lessons with Paul Delaroche, but that was not a great success. He would develop as a humorous cartoonist.
He gave a satirical commentary on current events which have now mostly lost their significance (except for the war of 1870 and the Paris Commune) and contemporaries, including Manet (Olympia) and Courbet. His satire lacked a convincing political position and depth.
His popularity was nevertheless great for many years. His style of humour remained unchanged and was appreciated by newspaper readers and readers of almanacks. He succeeded mostly in bringing banalities in a clownish form and had a penchant for silly puns and contrasts.
THE DIARIES OF CHAM
His sketchbooks as starting and evolving artist have the charm of spontaneity and self-irony, while his mature work is much like a puppet theatre.
IMITATOR of Rodolphe Töppfer
At the request of the publisher, Aubert Cham started his career with an imitation of some albums of the Swiss Töppfer, who is seen as the inventor of the comics, and who vainly protested against this imitation. Cham also introduced PUNCH in France.
In 1843 he debuted in this magazine and at first imitated Daumier but without the passion and political depth of the last. In his albums, he became more free and personal.
A selection of his countless cartoons commenting on the doings of his contemporaries.
“THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMIC”
In 1850 Cham worked as an illustrator of “L’ Assemblée Nationale Comique” by Auguste Lireux. This book gave a satirical account of the deliberations in the National Assembly. Especially the verbosity of the debate and the bumptiousness of most of the Representatives was denounced.
THE WAR OF 1870
During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the city of Paris was besieged by German troops causing famine. Cham showed his patriotism by working together with Daumier to cheer up a little bit his fellow citizens. He also made an album with the Commune of 1871 as a subject.
PARIS COMMUNE 1871
According to the Manifesto of the Paris Commune, “the communal revolution begins a new era of experimental positive, scientific politics. An experiment with direct democracy; the unity as it has been imposed by the Empire, the monarchy, or parliamentarism, was considered as an arbitrary or onerous centralization.”