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Pope & Merkel
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Schumi Gone
Gü Grass
H Böll
Jeremy I
Bellini 1
HRH Camila
Kalle L
© Patricia Ropohl      Images on this site must not be reproduced for profit without the artist's express consent                                                                                                                              y!web © 1995-2019 ecky ropohl  -  all rights reserved
William Marcy “Boss” Tweed, the corrupt political chief of New York, offered the Bavarian-born
cartoonist, Thomas Nast, $500,000 to go back to Europe to “study art”. Tweed wasn't really a
patron of the arts but he knew what he didn't like: Nast's caricatures. As Tweed said, “Stop
them damned pictures. I don't care so much what the papers say about me. My constituents
don't know how to read, but they can read them damned pictures”. From Charles Philipon -
who turned King Louis Phillipe, by stages, into a pear (a fool) - to Ralph Steadman
eviscerating Margaret Thatcher, caricaturists have dipped their pens and brushes into acid
for centuries. I'm sure a lowly Roman plebeian sketched an image of a bald man with
bulging eyes, bony knees and too long a neck as he watched the great Julius Caesar striding
across the Forum, much to the amusement of his friends.

The honour roll of caricaturists is long: Gillray and Rowlandson, the incomparable Daumier,
Joseph Keppler and in the last century, Art Young (arrested three times for “seditious”
cartoons), Robert Minor and more recently, the Brits: Ronald Searle, Ralph Steadman,
Spitting Images' Fluck and Law; the Americans: Robert Osborn, Jules Feifer and David
Levine; the Frenchmen: Mulatier, Ricord and Morchoisne. The pompous politician, puffed-up
entertainer and bragging business mogul should all be wary of the caricaturist who sees
through the cosmetic layer of public relations and People Magazine hype to the human face

There is nothing the “great” fear so much as having the balloon of their fame and reputation
pricked. Wonderful caricatures may be sweet rather than acid and just as effective. Witness
Patricia Ropohl's Madonna and Child depiction of Prince Charles and Camilla, a twinkle-
toed Luciano Pavarotti or the cherubic Dalai Lama. Each reveal the all to human face and
personality concealed by fame. Boss Tweed had good reason to fear the sharp pen of
Thomas Nast. Despite fleeing to Spain to avoid charges of corruption he could not escape
“them damned pictures”. A local policeman who could not read English recognised Tweed
from a cartoon in Harper's Weekly and arrested him. Tweed died several years later in the
New York jail his corrupt administration had built.

Jim Kempkes Toronto 2009