Item #3053 Moi Libre aussi. Louis Simon Boizot, Louis Darcis.
Iconography of the Abolition of Slavery in France, 1794

Moi Libre aussi.

Paris: : Se vend à Paris chez Depeuille, Rue Franciade, Section de Bon Conseil [François Jules Gabriel Depeuille], [1794]. First edition. Hand-colored engraving. In contemporary or near contemporary frame. Engraved by Louis Darcis, after Boizot (Boizot del.t : Darcis Sculp.t). Showing a black man with a red Phrygian liberty cap, in a circular medallion, with the motto or title engraved beneath twice in different typefaces. Diameter: ca. 75 mm. Paper tanned, trimmed, the engraving mounted on paper to fill the arch-shaped frame. Wormholes to the frame. Otherwise in fine condition.

Important public propaganda image commemorating the abolition of slavery in France in 1794.

The abolition of slavery in Saint Domingue in 1793, a major achievement of the slave revolt, the Haitian Revolution, the activity of the abolitionist societies in France, and just as importantly the ideas of the French Enlightenment and the revolutionary ethos of Liberté, égalité, fraternité convinced the French National Convention to issue a decree in 1794, the so-called Law of 4 February 1794, which abolished slavery and the slave trade in all French colonies, and gave the formerly enslaved equal rights. Commemorating the occasion, promoting the idea of general emancipation, and proclaiming equality in public propaganda, various images featuring men and women of African descent, with different printed slogans referring to freedom and equality started to circulate.

A pair of these images, depicting a freed woman and a man titled Moi libre aussi (I, Too, Am Free), was created by Louis Simon Boizot (1743–1809). Boizot's designs were probably intended to decorate porcelain box lids, as the artist was the director of the Sèvres porcelain manufactory at the time, and also created sculptures with the same title for the company. The freed black man, the engraving presented here, wears a red Phrygian liberty cap of emancipated enslaved people, a symbol still featured in the centerpiece of the Haitian flag, and the title Moi libre aussi appears twice beneath his image.

Scarce. Except for the present one no other records on RBH.We could trace institutional copies only in France (BnF - 4 copies, in two versions with a slightly different arrangement of the text; Le musée Carnavalet), the UK (British Museum), and the United States (JCB). One of the BnF-copies (a variant) was exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, as part of the exhibition Fictions of Emancipation: Carpeaux Recast (March 10, 2022–March 5, 2023).


Price: €12,000.00

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