The real name of Francois Lejeune is a pseudonym derived from his initials F. L.
Francois Lejeune was born in 1908 in the family of a merchant. He received a versatile education, studied languages, philosophy, music, and drew.
His parents wanted to raise him to be a merchant. At first, they were sent to London, where Francois discovered that selling fabrics, trading operations in general, was not his vocation. Having quarreled with his family, he leaves home with the firm intention of doing drama. Lejeune is writing a play, trying his hand at painting. Unexpected success is brought to him by cartoons for newspapers, with which he begins to cooperate since 1933. Then he began to sign his works with the pseudonym Jean Effel.
Since the thirties, Effel has been working mainly with communist newspapers. On the pages of these newspapers, Effel’s evil caricatures of Hitler, Goering, Ribbentrop, Mussolini, Franco appear. French politicians also fall under the satirical pen of the master: Lebrun, Bonnet, Herriot and others. Once the Soviet writer Ilya Ehrenburg came to him and offered to cooperate with the magazine “Liu” published with the help of the USSR, and Effel agreed. It was the most acute period of world history. Franco’s rebellion broke out in Spain, and a civil war was unleashed. Hitler and Mussolini threw their forces to help the Francoists. It was, in essence, the prologue of the World War.
During the Fascist occupation of France, Effel participated in the Resistance movement. He worked in an underground “Midnight Publishing house”, publishing anti-fascist satirical leaflets together with Louis Aragon and Paul Eluard. The fascists who occupied Paris reveled in easy victories. They found many accomplices, heirs of those who crushed the performances of Parisians during the commune. (Effel found in his grandfather’s diaries a description of the mockery of the communards before the execution. Ladies from the upper world and the demi-world came to admire the bound fighters of the commune and poked out their eyes with umbrellas.) During the Nazi occupation, the number of denunciations of “suspicious persons” to the Gestapo exceeded the number of residents of the capital, commentators later noted with shame. Later, in an interview with a Soviet journalist, Effel confessed:
– I was even glad when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. I realized that now Stalin would break his neck. Otherwise, Paris could remain a brothel for SS officers.
The heyday of the artist’s work falls on the post-war period. One of his strongest works is the book “Still under Occupation”, which contains the best cartoons of 1947-1955. According to Sergey Yutkevich’s apt remark, this collection should be called “Yankees, go home!”. Indeed, all the drawings in the series are united by a common idea, which is quite definitely stated in the author’s preface: “1947… Three years since we were liberated from the Germans. But not from the liberators. In front of… The occupation continues.”
These cartoons denounce the violence, rudeness and ignorance of Americans who manage on French soil, the face of the “liberators” is revealed — from soldiers whistling after a Parisian woman to Truman and Eisenhower, through the “carrot and stick” guiding the policy of French ministers.
The largest work is the collection “Creation of the World” on the themes of the Old Testament, based on which Isidore Stock wrote the play “The Divine Comedy”.
Jean Effel died in 1982 and is buried in the port city of Honfleur. His wife Margaret died in 1996 at the age of 92.
Recognition and awards:
- Order of Friendship of Peoples (02/11/1978)
- Gold Medal of the World Peace Council (1958)
- International Lenin Prize “For Strengthening Peace between Peoples” (1968)
Reference: Wikipedia, 2017