Lucien Marie François Métivet was a French poster artist, cartoonist, illustrator, and author who achieved considerable success during the Belle Époque. Best known for his 1893 poster of the chanteuse Eugénie Buffet, he was also a popular cover artist for the Parisian humour magazine Le Rire, and a frequent contributor of cartoons and illustrations to it and other magazines. He grew up in Paris, and studied classical art before turning to popular art forms. While still in his twenties he illustrated, with Carlos Schwabe, an edition of Émile Zola’s novel Le rêve (The Dream).
Métivet’s poster portraying Eugénie Buffet, promoting her appearances at Charles Verneau’s nightclub Les Ambassadeurs, was immediately recognised as exceptional, a contemporary critic noting that ‘Métivet’s talent is seen at its best in the Eugénie Buffet advertisements, which are worthy of a place amongst the best posters which have come from the hands of contemporary French artists’.
Lucien Métivet’s first cover for the Le Rire appeared on the magazine’s fifth issue, in December 1894; Entitled ‘Salon du Cycle’, the image humorously celebrated the popularity of the bicycle, at the time a new force in daily life. Métivet became a frequent contributor, and his many appearances in the magazine allowed his satirical side to emerge.
Métivet’s prolific output included illustrations for many books, including Catulle Mendès’ L’homme orchestre (The Orchestra Man, 1896), Pierre Valdagne’s Variations sur le même air (Variations on the Same Tune, 1896), and Michel Leblanc’s Voici de ailes! (Here are Wings!, 1898). Métivet’s accomplishments were honoured by the French government in 1923 when he was named a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.