The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Henri Rochefort, 1831-1913

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 1830.01.31
Place of Birth: Paris
Date of Death: 1913.06.30
Place of Death: Aix-les-Bains


Henri Rochefort, the Marquis Victor-Henry de Rochefort-Luçay, was a political journalist and writer of light comedies. His father, the Marquis Claude-Louis-Marie de Rochefort-Luçay, was an author and journalist who wrote under the name Armand de Rochefort. In 1872 Henri Rochefort married Marie Renaud.


Henri wrote theatre criticism for Le Charivari and La Presse théâtrale. He also contributed to the satirical journal Le Naine jaune and to Le Figaro. In May 1868 he founded his own weekly paper, La Lanterne, which was suppressed by Napoleon III's government. Félix Régamey drew a satirical cartoon of Rochefort crouching in a sewer entitled, 'Henri Rochefort and His Lantern'. Following exile in Belgium, Rochefort returned to France and founded La Marseillaise in 1869. In 1871 he was elected to the Government of National Defence and founded the newspaper Le Mot d'ordre. Rochefort did not participate in the Commune but was considered an enemy of the government. After imprisonment in the south of France, he was eventually deported in August 1873 to New Caledonia. He escaped in a boat on 19 March 1874 with five others. He returned to Paris after the amnesty in July 1880 and became editor of the newspaper L'Intransigeant. He was the author of Les Francais de la décadence (1866), La Grande Bohème (1867), Les Dépravés (1875), Les Naufrageurs (1876), L'Aurore boréale (1878) and L'Evade (1880).

According to Dr Collin, on his death bed Gustave Courbet refused to sell his portrait of JW's former mistress Joanna Hiffernan, Portrait de Jo, la belle Irlandaise, to Rochefort (#00695). In 1892 Rochefort appears to have been among those invited to the private viewing of JW's exhibition Nocturnes, Marines and Chevalet Pieces held at the Goupil Gallery in London on 19 March 1892 (#08453).


Rochefort, Henri, Les Adventures de ma vie, 5 vols, Paris, 1896-98; Williams, Roger L., Henri Rochefort: Prince of the Gutter Press, New York, 1966; Dutton, Kenneth R., 'Henri Rochefort', April 2002, (accessed 30 April 2003); Maurice, Arthur Bartlett, and Frederic Taber Cooper, History of the 19th Century in Political Cartoons, ed. Jim Zwick, (accessed 30 April 2003).