Charles Émile Egli by his friend Charles Lucien Léandre, 1926

Though born and raised in Switzerland, Charles Émile Egli lived and worked most of his life in Paris. Educated in Aigle and nearby Vevey, at eighteen he attended engraving classes taught by Alfred Martin at the School of Industrial Arts in Geneva.

Four year later he moved to Paris, where he continued his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts. Adopting the ‘French’ pseudonym of Carlègle, he soon found work with satirical journals including Le rire, Le sourire, La vie Parisienne, L’assiette au beurre and La gazette de bon ton, where his bold, quickly-drawn style was much appreciated.

An ink sketch, c.1910

It was his illustrations for Daphnis et Chloé, exhibited in the Autumn Salon of 1913, that launched his book illustration career, and he went on to illustrate more than twenty books, both classical and contemporary, including Virgil, Paul Valéry, Blaise Pascal, Paul Verlaine, Anatole France and Charles Maurras.

Frontispiece to Le Train de 8h47 by Georges Courteline, Paris, 1917

We know nothing at all of his private life, though his friend the playwright and journalist Hugues Delorme wrote one or two lighthearted articles about him in the magazine L’esprit montmartrois. Carlègle’s spare, colourful graphic style is unmistakable, and ideally suited to the light romantic texts we have chosen to represent his work.