The Alsatian kiss

The Alsatian kiss

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Title: The Alsatian kiss.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1919

Date shown: 1918

Dimensions: Height 21.4 - Width 26.4

Technique and other indications: chromolithography on cardboard

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais

Picture reference: 01.2.36 / Inv. MNATP 993.2.419

The Alsatian kiss.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais

Publication date: September 2009


The Alsatian kiss


Historical context

During the First World War, the Post Office calendar offers some military scenes showing the troops at rest (Meal at the forefront) or compositions highlighting the modernity of the French army (The dispatch rider, Aircraft hunting). The post-war period saw the flourishing of "victory calendars", the most frequent reason for which was the parade on horseback of French or allied armies on the Champs-Elysées.

Image Analysis

It is to this series that The Alsatian kiss. The subject chosen to illustrate this calendar is the arrival of French troops in an Alsatian village. The cavalry parade, trumpets in the lead, in an attitude that suggests more the parade than a scene of liberation. The village decked out in the colors of France shows no sign of German occupation. Alsace presented here responds to folkloric commonplaces, the image accumulating visual stereotypes reputed to define Alsatian identity: half-timbered houses, fir trees, the mountain suggested in the background and especially the female costumes. These are the folk Alsatian costumes as they were pictured in the 1920s, with a fairly precise notation of the waistcoat and the embroidery at the bottom of the red dress. On the technical level, the image is printed in pure chromolithography, a complex technique with a high cost price, the use of which for calendars is more characteristic of the 1880s and 1900s than of the 1920s. It is a calendar. luxury, which contrasts radically with the current production of the war years and the immediate post-war years. This late use of chromolithography, in a genre where screening techniques such as four-color printing are already well established, in itself constitutes an emphasis on the subject represented: the liberation of Alsace deserves special technical treatment.


The theme of the soldier's kiss, a commonplace in liberation scenes, is reinforced by a division of genres and ages that may suggest the union of a feminine Alsace and a masculine France: the soldiers, with smiles on their lips, are young men to whom their quality of riders gives an increased power. Alsace is represented by women, an old man and a child. The scene does not show the liberation of Strasbourg but that of a small rural town, as evidenced by the ducks in the foreground, a sign of the adhesion to France of the whole of Alsace.

  • Alsace Lorraine
  • army
  • tricolour flag
  • folklore
  • War of 14-18
  • annexation
  • popular imagery
  • Champs Elysees


Pierre VALLAUD, 14-18, World War I, volumes I and II, Paris, Fayard, 2004. Jean-Marie MAYEUR "A frontier memory: Alsace" in Pierre Nora (Dir) Memorial place Paris, gallimard réed. coll. “Quarto”, 1997. Jean-Claude RICHEZ and Alfred WAHL Daily life in Alsace between France and Germany Paris, Hachette, 1993.

To cite this article

Frédéric MAGUET, "The kiss of the Alsatian woman"

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