New: ‘A Strange Suicide’ Posters

Strange_suicide_13x19For those who prefer your workshop art to be a little twisted (as opposed to a sexist cheesecake calendar) we offer this poster from the back page of the April 5, 1903, edition of the French illustrated newspaper Le Petit Parisien.

The poster is $15, which includes domestic shipping. They are in stock and will ship immediately from our Indiana warehouse. You can place your order here.

Unearthed by researcher Jeff Burks, this poster reproduces the original printed page in full size and full color. We obtained two original copies of the original newspaper, scanned them and merged them to produce this poster.

It is printed on #100 semi-gloss paper in California, measures 13″ x 19″ and features a translation of the original news story from 1903 (also below). The poster ships in a rugged cardboard tube. We have printed 500 copies. When they are gone, they are gone forever.

A Strange Suicide

This is obviously a particular case of madness, that of the strange suicide of this joiner from Sainte-Ménehould, with whom all the press is occupied. Mr. Lemaître, the joiner in question, was sick for a long time; He was, in addition, suffering from paranoia; his rationale seemed very shaken.

Tired of suffering, he resolved to finish his own existence. But he did not use, like so many others, poison, the revolver or the rope; He wanted to be guillotined. He very patiently sharpened a spade, so it would be keen as a razor; he tied it to his joinery workbench, which had been loaded quite heavily with wood; then, using a piece of wood as a brace, he lifted his bench to 60 centimeters in height and spread himself on the ground so that, by removing the piece of wood, the spade would strike his neck.

These tragic preparations had taken a fairly long time. With a chisel, Mr. Lemaître knocked out the brace that was holding the workbench and the spade descended suddenly, working as a guillotine blade. Indeed, the carotid artery was severed and the head weakly attached to the body. The doctor who was called found him dead.

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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37 Responses to New: ‘A Strange Suicide’ Posters

  1. Ok. I am not one that usually chimes in on these posts. But I have to say that this is… awesome. I ordered on. I’ll hang it next to my “hammer” theme poster from WIA 2915 on which Roy and Chris wrote “Hammer time!” and “Get Hammered B*tch!” respectively 🙂

  2. Is there a way this can be shipped to Canada? Or should I try to find someone in the US to buy it for me?

    • David Taylor says:

      Francis, If you can’t find another way, I’ll order it and send it to you. Email dyfhid at gmail dot com. Obviously, be quick if you want me to 🙂

    • Francis, I’ve had a copy of this hanging on my wall for sometime. At one point, Chris provided a hi-res scan on the blog, which I had printed by one of the many online resources. So that’s always an option for “out-of-towners”

  3. Ed Clarke says:

    I just ordered one to go on the inside of my nail cabinet door. I couldn’t find a suitable poster of a Victorian lady like Roy’s and I didn’t want to use Chris’s nail poster.

  4. Greg Flora says:

    Yes! Loved the postcard version from the ADB party and was hoping a poster would soon be on its way!

  5. I have to say that I am appalled that this poster is being sold. Having worked in the mental health service for many years I can say that suicide is not interesting or funny it is just very, very sad. Suicide affects not only the dead person but their family; friends; other sufferers; ambulance workers; doctors; psychiatrists and many more.

    I am a member of a forum that seeks to aid people who have bipolar disorder because I also have that illness. The incidence of suicide amongst this group of people is much higher than in any other group so we see this in a very visceral way.

    We do not know why this unhappy man took his own life but it is reasonably to suppose that it had much to do with the decline of the hand woodwork trades because of the almost complete adoption of steam driven woodworking machines. He faced unemployment, the loss of his autonomy and the loss of the opportunity to practise the skills he had painstakingly developed and honed over many years.

    • The answer as to why he too his own life is in the news story provided in the blog entry and the poster. It has nothing to do with the decline of handwork:

      This is obviously a particular case of madness, that of the strange suicide of this joiner from Sainte-Ménehould, with whom all the press is occupied. Mr. Lemaître, the joiner in question, was sick for a long time; He was, in addition, suffering from paranoia; his rationale seemed very shaken.

      Tired of suffering, he resolved to finish his own existence.

      Death is part of life. And not everyone looks at it in the same way. I love this image for many reasons, both artistic and personal.

    • blatimerblog says:

      My brother killed himself 6 years ago. So I won’t be buying this. I would have been upset seeing it at one time. But it is cool in a somewhat sick way.

  6. danieltikhon says:

    Kind’a wish I hadn’t seen that.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  7. kendewitt608 says:

    I also found this very disturbing, not only for what this poor soul did. To me the idea of it being
    a poster is something that I have a problem with.
    Also wish I had not seen it.

  8. KampWood says:

    Oh man I’m still really digging those clamping horses. And I’m still wondering if his spade had a double bevel on it…

  9. I can’t imagine a wall with this departed, witty poster. No fun. Sorry.

  10. jmwagle86 says:

    When will the cheesecake edition be finished?

  11. mjstauss says:

    Distracting from whether or not it is offensive or not (not to me), I have to point out that what immediately struck me was that with only one leg of the bench propped up, it seems like it should just tip over to the other side.
    Also, what’s on the sawhorses to the left? Edge joined boards in a clamp? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • timothyvermillion says:

      He’s got a stop block nailed to the floor to prevent slipping. Notice he left the nails sticking out to as a favor to someone.

  12. mariocat10 says:

    I dont think that the poster is trying to be witty or humorous. But it does show the woodworkers creativity and get it done attitude

  13. Niels Cosman says:

    I am offended. I’m not sure why, but I definitely am offended about something and find this post unsettling. It’s making me anxious and making my stomach turn. Yup, I am super offended.

    Update: I just ate a sandwich and it turns out I was just hungry. That poster is rad, I’m getting it!

    Question: What are the dimensions of the image itself not including the text?

  14. billlattpa says:

    I like it, but there are women and children at my house. On another note, how many of you sickos are wondering about the work bench dimensions?

  15. Brian Clites says:

    Picked one up at the Open House! Its already framed, and hanging in our living room.

  16. bruceeaton10 says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a short while and your publications look very nicely done, including this poster. However, I have to agree that this print comes across as insensitive to a very serious issue. While death is a part of life, suicide is a very different matter than dying of old age.

    • tsstahl says:

      “While death is a part of life, $DEATH is a very different matter than dying of old age.”

      =drowning, immolation, starvation, homicide,…

      Not opining if you are right, or wrong in your views, only pointing out everyone is sensitive to something. Yet it is all still part of the same condition we all must participate in. See here for some perspective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJUhlRoBL8M

  17. shopsweeper says:

    So I am taking this as the equivalent of ‘tabloid journalism’ form yesteryear. The image was designed to excite the senses and was probably supposed to scandalize the reader just enough to make it seem relevant or important. Looking at this so many years later, out of context, would be a bit like future woodworkers looking at a “New York Post” photo essay about a guy hurting his dear person with his SawStop in some convoluted way.

    I don’t think we are looking at a real celebration of self-harm (either today or back then). We are looking at a sensationalized “news” article that happens to have some woodworking “kit” on display. On the whole it’s a bit less morbid that some of my favorite Edgar Allen Poe writings but it is more real since a man died.

    I can’t MAKE anyone like this and I will not try. Our differences, ultimately, make us a stronger whole and serve to highlight those things that do have in common – like a love for the making crafts.

  18. jdsteed16 says:

    this needs context; a caption that reads, say ‘f*****g Anarchist’s Tool Chest, with it’s 37 thousand dovetails. curse you chris schwarz!’ or ‘maybe i need to rethink this as a way to test for sharpness.’ perhaps ‘at least i’ll never have to listen to anymore fanboys and their lame attempts at ingratiating themselves.’ or something actually funny.

  19. amosswogger says:

    The man who built my house commited suicide recently. He had two daughters. His relatives live next door. I just don’t get the attaction to this poster. The fact that you would sell this poster really makes a statement.

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