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Musée des Horreurs. Le Traître!

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (published)

  • Date:

    ca. 1899-1900 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lenepveu, Victor (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case Y, shelf 81A

Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935) was a French army captain of Jewish birth. In 1894 he was accused of selling military secrets to Germany. No substantial evidence was brought against him, but a coalition of aristocratic, nationalist officers kept him imprisoned in a penal colony off the coast of South America. New evidence appeared in 1896 that indicated his innocence, but he was not finally acquitted until 1906. The affair was a prism that threw tensions in French society into sharp perspective. Few supported him, although the novelist Emile Zola was among them. The series of posters depicting Dreyfus himself and those connected with the affair were part of the nationalist and anti-semitic upsurge. Here, Dreyfus is caricatured as a Hydra, a monster with many heads, which, when cut off, are succeeded by others. The symbolism of a serpent thwarted by a cruciform sword was easily understood both as a metaphor for Christian good slaying Jewish evil and the capacity of the Hydra to restore itself when under attack. The Hydra implied a Jewish conspiracy in which another traitor would take Dreyfus's place when called.

Physical description

portrait format poster printed in bluish green and black on yellowish ground.Caricature of Alfred Dreyfus as a serpent/monster: head of man with pince-nez, moustache and balding head, at foot of image; trailing behind him and upward, the rest of his body which is a scaly blue serpent like creature with four clawed feet; six snakes, three on each side, twist out from his head. Captioned at top of image.

Place of Origin

Paris (published)


ca. 1899-1900 (published)


Lenepveu, Victor (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

Signature; within image toward right margin; lithography

Imp[rimerie].-Gérant:Lenepveu, 58 rue Dulong, Paris
Print Direction: Lenepveu .....[etc]
Maker's identification; French; bottom right corner; lithography


Height: 650 mm sheet, Width: 490 mm sheet

Descriptive line

Poster by V. Lenepveu entitled 'Le Traître!' from the series 'Musée des Horreurs'. Paris, ca. 1899-1900.

Production Note

No. 6 in a series of sixteen posters entitled Musée des Horreurs, all anti-semitic caricatures of figures linked directly or indirectly to the Dreyfus Affair (1899-1900)


Printing ink; Paper


Colour lithography

Subjects depicted

Nationalism; Monsters; Caricature; Hydra; Traitors; Anti-semitism


Propaganda; Religion; Politics; Caricatures & Cartoons; Posters

Production Type

Mass produced


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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