Sem (Georges Goursat)

1863 – 1934

Born in the Dordogne region of France, Sem was attracted to the glamour of the big city and studied art in Paris. While he cannot be considered a fine artist and his drawing was not held in very high regard, his skill as a caricaturist is outstanding. Sem attained a level of success through his imaginative portrayals of Paris at the Turn of the Century. By capturing the spirit of the subject rather than exact physical traits, Sem produced images that were probably truer to life than formal portraits.

Sem contributed to many newspapers and journals and created several folios of gay and imaginative looks at members of society and their amusements. With abundant good humor, Sem depicted everyone from society matrons to famous entertainers, from royalty to bookmakers at Longchamp.

Sem was a member of the Salon des Humoristes and an officer of the Légion d’honneur. His caricatures offer revealing glimpses into Parisian high society around 1900.