Figure 1.--This was one of Hansi's illustrations of his boyhood in a German school in Alsace. Presumably he is the boy drawing the French soldiers. He is not too impressed with the teacher's blackboard math or is geography, saying that Berlin was the largest city in the world. Note the short blue smock-like jacket that one boy wears.
Some illustrators have trouble getting their work recognized, but most live relatively aquiet lives in their studios. Some like Hansi leave more turbulent lives, in his case because ownership of his beloved Alsace was bitterly contested by the Germans and French. Hansi or Jean Jacques Waltz was born in Colmar an Alsatian city that had just been annexed by Germany as a result of the Franco Prussian War. He disliked having
to persue his eduction in German under the Kaiser and drew sardonic illustrations of Alsatian school life. He was an ardent French patriot. He was a prolific artist
and writer. He loved drawing Alsatian folk costume and is perhaps best known for his book on an Alsatian village under German rule, Moi Village published in 1913 just before the onset of World War I which infuriated the Germans. When the Germans entered Alscae again in 1941, he had to flee to Vichy. The Gestapo caught up with him and beat him senceless despite his age. He spent the rest of the War a refugee in Switzerland.
Background on Alsace is needed to understand Hansi and his work. HBC is unsure to what extent boys' clothing differed in ASlsace-Loraine with the rest of France, especially to what extent smocks were worn in Alsace-Loraine. These two border provinces in northeastern France were an issue of dispute between Germanic and French rulers since the division of Charlemange's Empire in the 9th century. German control from 1871-1919 presumably meant that smocks were not commonly worn, but HBC has few details at this time. The northern situation of both Alsace and Loraine may have also been a factor affecting clothing.
I do not have details on his parents, but assume they were French speaking.
Jean Jacques Waltz was born in Colmar in 1873.
No information available.
Hansi or Jean Jacques Waltz was born in Colmar an Alsatian city that had just been annexed by Germany as a result of the Franco Prussian War. He disliked having
to persue his eduction in German under the Kaiser and would later drew sardonic illustrations of Alsatian school life. He attended the Impérial College of Colmar for which he does not have the best memories. He did well in drawing, but had trouble with math. As a result he leaves Alscae to study at the School of Beautiful Arts of Lyon. After which he returns to Alsace to work as draughtsman in a textile factory.
Hansi began his career of illustrator by creating postcards at the time of local events: bazaars of charity or vacation camps. The style was not yet marked and was inspired by the Art Nouveau which had invaded all Europe. Hansi was an ardent French patriot. He was a prolific artist and writer. He loved drawing Alsatian folk costume. The annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by the Germanic Empire in 1871 outraged him as it did many Alsatians. He gave vent to his feelings through mocking and ironic cartoons. Thanks to his brother, studying in pharmacy in Strasbourg, he could collaborate in the newspaper of the Association of Schoolkids and published its first satirical drawings under the pseudonym of HANSI, name made up of Hans (Jean) and I of Jacob (Jacques). Its preferred targets were the
German tourists who he saw as "invading" his Alsace. Hansi's first book illustrations were in his 1912 book of lampoons Professor Knatschké which proved to be a best-seller in France. Several editions were published into the 1930s. His books The History of Alsace Told with the Little Children (1912), "Moi Village" (1913) published by a Parisian editor (Floury) confirmed his
national success. These books were both regarded as the symbol of Alsatian resistance by the movement of the "revanchists", desiring to return to France. He is perhaps best known for his book on an Alsatian village under German rule, Moi Village published as it was in France during just before the onset of World War I. The earlier cartoons were irritaing, the books infuriated the Germans who did not appreciate his humor. Especially gauling was his making fun of the German police and professors in Moi Village.
He is called before the Court of Leipzig which condemns him to 1 year of prison in July 1914, a month before World War I erupts. France was indignant. The case is publicized in front pages of newspapers all over France Clemenceau himself contributed two leading articles on first page of its newspaper The Free Man. The Germans were not all that anxious to actually jail Hansi because of all the publicity. He manages to get to France and with the outbreak of World War I joined the French Army.
Hansi was of course overjoyed when the French regained control of Alsace in 1919. He published The Tricolour Paradise and Happy Alsace. When the Germans entered Alscae again (May 1940), he had to flee to Vichy. The NAZIs of course had even less humor than the Kaiser's police. Despite his age, he was nearly 70, the NAZIs decided to setle old scores. The Gestapo finds him in Agen and beat him senceless--leaving him for dead in front of his door one evening lying in a pool of blood (April 1941). He managed to get to Switzerland and spent the rest of the War there as a refugee. He lives on some work in watercolours and waits until June 1946 to return again to Colmar.
Hansei has left a considerable body of work. He illustrated books as well as did commercial illustrations. He also prepared the illustrations for a large number of post cards. There was also jewelry, however, we are unsure if Hansi designed the jewelry or the jewelry is more modern and done on the basis of Hansi's drawings. Some of Hansi's favorite subjects were Alsatian folk costume and Alsatian landscapes. His books and realted drawings make him a beloved illustrator and writer in Alsace and France. His last work "Mrs Bissinger takes her bath" and "The first gramophone" are no longer lampoons, but rather small accounts of memories of childhood.
Perreau. "Hansi through Alsace"/"Hansi ou l’Alsace révélée" (1962).
Le Grand Livre de l'Oncle Hansi (edition Beuchner).
Steinmann. Hansi ŕ travers ses cartes postales.
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