Boris O Klein (1893-1985) was born in Moscow in the USSR to French parents. He returned to France at a young age living in the region of Alsace. He signed up and served in the French army during the First World War and afterwards moved to Paris where he continued to live until his death.
Boris O Klein became an artist and cartoonist and is best known for his hand coloured etchings of dogs getting up to mischief. They have become known as the ‘Dirty Dogs of Paris’ or ‘naughty dogs’ because many of the etchings portray lewd acts.
Painted under a pseudonym
He also painted under a pseudonym, “Jean Herblet” The reason is not known but perhaps under that name he produced more serious work. All his work seemed to feature dogs however and under the name “Jean Herblet” he produced many hunting scenes.
It appears that most of his work was sold to tourists visiting Paris. It was this that probably led him to start producing prints as he could make multiple copies of the one image and sell it over and over again.
The “Dogs of Paris” series was produced by engraving.
When he produced the series that have become known as the “Dogs of Paris,” it amused and resonated with tourists and became a best seller for him and they have remained popular to this day. The “Dogs of Paris” series was produced by engraving.
The technique requires the image to be “etched” into a plate of a hard surface by a tool called a burin. (These days usually copper). Ink is then rubbed all over the plate and the excess removed leaving ink in the etched lines. Good quality paper is needed which is dampened slightly. The plate and the paper is then put under a press leaving the image on the paper. Engraving is quite a time-consuming exercise as each print has to be individually done by hand. Each print of the “Dogs of Paris” series was then hand coloured.
The most popular images of Boris O Klein
There are 30 images in the complete set of Boris O Klein “Dirty Dogs of Paris” and we hold in stock the most popular ones.
These are as follows:
Malentendue (misunderstanding) Oh Liberte (Oh Liberty)
La Profanteur (The Defiler) L’Etourdie (Bewildered)
Sans Interdit (Prohibited) Tu Viens Beau Blond (a beautiful blond)
Eternels Ennemis (always enemies) W.C. Prive (private W.C.)
A La Queue (Join the Queue) Reviens Chouquette (come back chouquette)
Sus au Curieux (extra curious) Comme Nos Maitres (as our master)
Chacun Son Tour (each in turn) L’Attente (attention)
L’Inauguration (the inauguration) 7,8,9 out…
C’est Impossible! (it is impossible!) Vous Voulez (you want to)
Zu tils nous l’ont Grillage! (damn they have a grille) Hello, Beau Blond! (Hello beautiful blond)
Cercle Vicieux (vicious circle)
Upon the death of Boris O Klein in 1985 his Grandson Eric, has taken over the production of these prints from the original plates and hand paints them to authentically match the originals of his Grandfather.
Boris O Klein etchings have remained very popular and can be found in many houses and establishments throughout the world.