Drawings and caricatures

An important iconographic collection includes about 500 portraits of the protagonists of the League of Nations, drawn by Swiss artist Rolf Roth, one of the institution’s accredited draftsmen. Compiling this collection involved the identification of about 400 public figures. It includes many political caricatures, contemporary press clippings, and 220 photographs.

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Jean Monnet’s portrait by Rolf Roth
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The Bernese bear makes Churchill’s victory sign after he visited Bern in 1946, drawing by Rolf Roth

“Press cartoons […] were often the sole means of discovering the faces of politicians and thus of forging an idea of their personality. Because they influenced judgments and views and had a deeper and more lasting effect on the individual and collective mind than a quickly-forgotten article, the daily press seized upon them avidly, devoting several front-page columns to them, and using them as a political weapon that was all the more formidable for the fact that, under the guise of humour, their authors could say and show all.”

Delporte (Christian), Les crayons de la propagande, Paris, CNRS EDITIONS, 1993, p. 8.