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Honoré Daumier {dohm-ee-ay', awn-ohr-ay'}, b. Feb. 26, 1808, d. Feb. 10, 1879, was a French lithographer, draftsman, painter, and sculptor, best known for his social and political caricatures. Largely self-taught, he studied briefly with Alexandre Lenoir, but he learned most from his study of the classical sculpture and Dutch and Flemish painting in the Louvre, Paris.

Crispino and Scapino

"Crispino and Scapino"
by Honoré Daumier
Scala/Art Resource, NY

Daumier entered (1828) the Academy but quickly rebelled against its doctrinaire methods. In 1831, he became a contributor to the satirical journal La Caricature. When it was censored by the regime in 1835, he joined the staff of Le Charivari and was associated with that journal for the next 30 years.

The main subjects of Daumier's satirical cartoons were the corrupt regime, the injustice of the law courts, and the hypocrisy of the middle class. He created universal types and characters personifying all aspects of the "human condition"; his scenes of the low, the humble, the commonplace, and the banal recall the world reflected in the novels by Honore de Balzac. Daumier's best-known caricatures include the monumental and popular political drawings The Legislative Paunch and Rue Transnonain, April 15, 1834 (both 1834) and two lithographic series introducing his famous embodiments of all human vices, Robert Macaire (1836) and Ratapoil (1850).

In the mid-1840s, Daumier turned to painting and sculpture, producing his famous series Lawyers and Third Class Carriage. His paintings and sculpture, however, are generally considered inferior to his more than 5,000 extant lithographs, which display a great mastery of line and highly refined tonalities.

Magdalena Dabrowski
Source: The Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Release #9.01, ©1997.
Bibliography: H. Daumier, Lawyers and Justice (1971); C. Ives, et al., Daumier Drawings (1993); L. Provost, Honore Daumier: A Thematic Guide to His Oeuvre (1989); Robert Rey, Daumier (1985); Sarah Symmons, Daumier (1979); Howard Vincent, Daumier and His World (1968).
Images: "Crispino and Scapino" (Scala/Art Resource, NY).
Copyrights Notice and Disclaimer: Images of artists' works displayed throughout this site have been obtained from numerous sources, including digital libraries at educational institutions, educational software, and Mark Harden's Artchive. Credit is attributed when known. Some works are considered to be in the public domain, based on current U.S. and international copyright acts. For more information on copyright laws, please refer to the Artists Rights Society and Benedict O'Mahoney's The Copyright Web Site. [See also: Copyrights.]

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CGFA - Virtual Art Museum
Carol L. Gerten maintains an impressive image library of meticulously scanned works from hundreds of renowned artists, including this collection featuring 5 of Daumier's paintings.

Do you know of a great Daumier site we should list here? Please submit it!

Daumier Quotations:

"(QUOTE #1)" (1)

"(QUOTE #2)" (2)

Sources of Quotations: (1) XXXXX. (2) XXXXX.
[The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press. Copyright © 1993 by Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.]

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