The purpose of life is to find beautiful things and then share them. At least, that is what we believe here at the Masereel Group.
We are a small group of dedicated intellectuals and thinkers who admire Frans Masereel, the Flemish woodcut artist, inventor of the graphic novel, and social activist. Masereel's foresight gave a unique vision of the spectacles of capitalism, war, media, police brutality, and the overarching alienation of urban living. He contributed to journals teaching modern safe sex and hygiene, to Communist and Socialist periodicals, and, more commonly, to an endless array of frontispieces, illustrations, drawings, and woodcuts in commercial, literary works. Our goal is to bring this foresight and vision back to a modern era, to spread it among the currents of our social rivers, and to show how Masereel's ideas still are valid in today.
Our goal is not commercial; we are not here to sell books. Our goal is cultural; we are here to spread a vision. This means acquiring, collecting, cleaning, scanning, digitally editing (desaturating, contrasting, despeckling, noise reductioning), uploading, and sharing every artwork by Masereel that we can find: graphic novels, works he illustrated, journal collections, independent pieces, or book covers.
As of 2020, American copyright law includes every literary work in the public domain since the year 1925 or before. This includes many of Frans Masereel's most important and well-known works, such as: the City, the Idea, Passionate Journey (a.k.a.: My Book of Hours), and many others. Unfortunately, these are not public domain in Belgium, which means that international interests (wikipedia, wikibooks, wikicommons, etc.) will refuse to host this material. Fortunately, the Masereel Group is based in the United States! So, the law applicable to our website grants these works in the public domain.
There may be other Masereel-based organizations out there, and they may be antagonistic towards the idea of spreading Masereel's message without also reeling in some profit at the same time. We are appalled at this. Taxing beauty is like taxing life, and it is this narrow-minded attitude that ultimately lead to the formation of the Masereel Group: an organization devoted strictly to spreading the vision of Masereel -- our only expectation is to spread culture, we have no interest in reaping a profit.
Through the eye of Masereel, you may see something new and wondrous. Why not take a look?
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