Honoré Daumier (1808-1879)
Best known as a caricaturist and printmaker whose sharp satirical eye captured the foibles and failings of Nineteenth Century French life, Daumier produced an enormous body of work during his long career, including five hundred paintings, a thousand drawings, one hundred sculptures, one thousand wood engravings, and four thousand lithographs. His acerbic world view, shaped by the 1830 French Revolution, dominated his work thereafter until blindness brought his work to an end some years prior to his death.
Despite the objections of his family, Daumier succeeded in pursuing his chosen career first by apprenticing to Alexandre Lenoir, a family friend, and then through studies at the Académie Suisse. In his early career, he was a platemaker for music publishers and an advertising illustrator. This anonymity gave way to the work for which he is best known, satirist and caricaturist, beginning with work at La Caricature, published by Charles Philipon, and its successor publication, Le Charivari. For the remainder of his long career, Daumier remained at the forefront of modern French art, frequently in trouble with the authorities for his portrayals of bourgeois and aristocracy alike. He died at Valmondois in a cottage owned by Corot, who placed it at the old man’s disposal.
Les Honneurs du Pantheon
Lithograph, 1834; edition unknown. Image size 10¼” x 9½”; sheet size 14-3/8” x 10-5/8”. Published as Plate 433 in La Caricature, No. 207. The sheet has a crease formed during the printing process, extending 13/16” into the image area. This deformation created ripples in the same area. There is minor spotting in the right margin. A powerful early image.
Quand le journal est trop interessant
Lithograph, 1846; edition not known. Image size 8½” x 11¼”; sheet size 9¾” x 13-1/8”. Plate 12 from Les Bons Bourgeois. Initialed by Daumier on the stone. Folded, probably for mailing, but otherwise sound; reddish stain from handwritten text in lower LH corner of sheet, and uniformly heavy embossing from lettering printed on reverse.