The poster for the Feria de Béziers 2024 at the center of the debates

The poster for the Feria de Béziers 2024 at the center of the debates

L'affiche reprenant le dessin de Jean Moulin a été dévoilée lors de la Feria off. Midi Libre – Mélissa Alcoléa

Unveiled during the Feria off, the poster for the Feria de Béziers is taken from a drawing by Jean Moulin who frequented the arenas before the 1920s. Regional councilor Thierry Mathieu, but also anti-bullfighters, like Colbac, were moved by it. Robert Ménard explains that the City simply wanted to pay additional tribute to Jean Moulin, the Biterrois.

It’s always a matter of taste: you like it or not. So, every year, when it is revealed, the Feria poster sparks debate. In 2024, the Biterrois, whether they are aficionados, anti-bullfights or simple party-goers, are no exception to the rule. Except that this time, it is the highlighting of the artist who created it, in this case Jean Moulin, which fuels the controversy. Unveiled during the Feria off, it was taken from a drawing by the resistance fighter who signed his works with the name Romanin.

Thierry Mathieu: "It's twisting reality"

Regional councilor Thierry Mathieu was one of the first to take issue with the project. In a press release, he echoes the words of Robert Ménard. According to him, the mayor said, among other things, during the unveiling of the poster that "Jean Moulin loved and drew bullfighting. This poster is a fine example of the way in which he praised this art criticized by some and defended here.Nay, then, according to Thierry Mathieu himself: "It’is still twisting reality in a scandalous way… No one can say what Jean Moulin thought of bullfighting. But above all, respecting Jean Moulin the man, the artist, is also respecting his work, not mutilate her, do not seek force to make her say what she does not say. Because under Jean Moulin's drawing, there is a legend (read below), written by hand of the artist, to make fun of the caricatured bullfighter, not really in a flattering way, who looks "so cow" (…) We will have this year as a poster for the feria a caricature which makes fun of a bullfighter."

Not a bullfighter but a picador

What is certain is that Jean-Moulin frequented the arenas. Regularly, even. Nothing says if the Biterrois was a die-hard aficionado or if he only had a minor interest in bullfighting but in any case, he returned to the arenas… Jacques Nougaret wrote the book Jean Moulin, a child from Béziers. He looked into the subject:"Jean Moulin, went to the arenas to see the opera performances of Fernand Castelbon de Beauxhostes and he also attended the bullfights during which he did a lot of sketches. He drew everything he saw, silhouettes. The poster for the Feria is also an incomplete drawing which shows the society of the time. In any case, this drawing proves his attachment to bullfights. The guy who is pictured and pouting is not a bullfighter, but a picador. Knowing that most of the time, the picador is not appreciated by aficionados who believe that it does too much on the toro. Jean-Moulin even drew a monstrous figure for him."

For Colbac, it's "a shameful recovery"

For its part, the Béziers Liaison Committee for the Abolition of Bullfighting (Colbac) considers, through its president Sophie Maffre Beaugé, "that by highlighting a symbol of French resistance, Robert Ménard wants to convey the idea that defending bullfighting is an act of resistance. It’is a recovery ashamed of the figure of the national hero Jean Moulin to serve his propaganda of bloody bullfighting. It is also a lie and a manipulation of opinion: Jean Moulin did not never made a statement on bullfighting, his sketches are snapshots of the era he caricatured and do not make him a fervent fan of bullfighting. The fact that he attended a few bullfights in his youth does not make this practice any more acceptable. Allowing oneself to associate the memory of Jean Moulin with the cruelty of bullfighting is particularly unworthy. ;quot;

"Let's defend what is us", retorts Robert Ménard

For Robert Ménard, there is no reason to argue on the subject. The mayor claims to have simply wanted once again to honor the memory of Jean Moulin, the Biterrois: "Why this choice ? But just because it's Jean Moulin ! Because he is the hero of this country, says the mayor. We have over 500 drawings that he made and we found 13 on bullfighting. We also have a letter that he sent to his sister in which he talks to her about bullfighting. I find it wonderful that we came across these drawings. Last year was the year of Jean Moulin, we restored his house and we still pay tribute to him with this poster. We also took photos of some of these designs for International Bullfighting Day which takes place on May 16. It's such a beautiful poster, it's really superb. Jean Moulin went to the arenas like all the Biterrois who loved that. Let's defend what is us, instead of trying to argue!"

“Do not use his image for partisan purposes” asks Jean-Moulin's family

Gilles Benoît is one of the cousins ​​of Jean Moulin's family, a member of the Jean Moulin Memorial Committee. It was Thierry Hely, the president of the Federation of Struggles for the Abolition of Bullfights (Flac) who informed him that the Feria 2024 poster included one of the drawings of the resistant. Gilles Benoît believes, like many, that no one can say that Jean Moulin liked bullfighting or not. However, he confirms that he went to the arenas and that he ate "picadors", as in the drawing used in the Feria poster: "C& #39;is a caricature, he explains. He used bullfighting to caricature people. From the age of 15, he published humorous drawings and caricatures. We had been informed that a poster would be published based on these drawings. What we do not want is for the image of Jean Moulin to be used for partisan purposes." 

The legend that we cannot see in the drawing

Below the cartoon, reproduced on the poster, there is the following caption. this is a discussion between a gentleman and a lady:

– He's our best diestro, señora, he's been running the plazas for twenty years, and no bull has hurt him

– That  understandable, he seems so stupid…

I subscribe to read more

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(function(d,s){d.getElementById("licnt2061").src= ";r"+escape(d.referrer)+ ((typeof(s)=="undefined")?"":";s"+s.width+"*"+s.height+"*"+ (s.colorDepth?s.colorDepth:s.pixelDepth))+";u"+escape(d.URL)+ ";h"+escape(d.title.substring(0,150))+";"+Math.random()}) (document,screen)