Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Don Quixote and the Dead Mule

Honoré Daumier (French, Marseilles 1808–1879 Valmondois)
after 1864
Oil on wood
9 3/4 x 18 1/8 in. (24.8 x 46 cm)
Credit Line:
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1909
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 802
This work, one of many versions of the subject that Daumier painted after 1864, illustrates a passage from Don Quixote, the epic novel by Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616). The knight, in the company of his squire, Sancho Panza, encounters the body of a dead mule, still saddled and bridled but already half-devoured by wolves and crows.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): h.D.
Charles-François Daubigny (until d. 1878); his widow, Mme Daubigny (from 1878); [Camentron, Paris, in 1901]; [Robert Dell, Paris, until 1909; sold to MMA]
Paris. Galeries Durand-Ruel. "Exposition des peintures et dessins de H. Daumier," April 17–June 15, 1878, no. 48 (as "Don Quichotte," lent by Mme Daubigny, possibly this picture) [see Adhémar 1958].

Paris. Palais de l'École des Beaux-Arts. "Exposition Daumier," May 1901, no. 24 (as "Don Quichotte," lent by M. Camentron).

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Corot–Daumier," October 16–November 23, 1930, no. 47 (as "Landscape with Don Quixote and the Dead Mule").

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscape Paintings," May 14–September 30, 1934, no. 45 (as "Don Quixote").

Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Museum of Art. "Daumier 1808–1879," 1937, no. 11 (as "Don Quixote").

Springfield, Mass. Springfield Museum of Fine Arts. "The Romantic Revolt: Gros, Gericault, Delacroix, Daumier, Guys," February 7–March 5, 1939, no. 26 (as "Landscape with Don Quixote and the Dead Mule").

Providence. Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. "Sculpture by Painters: An Exhibition Designed for Domestic Use," April 30–May 25, 1952, no catalogue.

Paris. Orangerie des Tuileries. "Monticelli et le Baroque provençal," June 19–September 15, 1953, no. 28 (as "Don Quichotte et la mule morte").

Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," May 22–July 27, 1975, no. 57.

Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," August 28–November 2, 1975, no. 57.

Ottawa. National Gallery of Canada. "Daumier, 1808–1879," June 11–September 6, 1999, no. 359.

Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Daumier, 1808–1879," October 5, 1999–January 3, 2000, no. 359.

Washington. Phillips Collection. "Daumier, 1808–1879," February 19–May 14, 2000, no. 359.

Barcelona. Fundació Caixa Catalunya. "Visiones del Quijote," March 7–June 12, 2005, no. 38.

Seville. Santa Inés Convent. "Visiones del Quijote," June 21–August 28, 2005, no. 38.

Arsène Alexandre. Honoré Daumier: L'Homme et l'œuvre. Paris, 1888, pp. 346, 373, notes that Daumier painted at least five or six pictures of Don Quixote and lists the one shown in Exh. Paris 1878.

Gustave Geffroy. Daumier. Paris, [1901], p. 26.

Erich Klossowski. Honoré Daumier. Munich, 1908, pp. 66–67, [127], no. 39, pl. 30, erroneously states that it is painted on canvas; lists a smaller repetition in Holland (now Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo; Maison 1968, no. I-201) [see Klossowski 1923] .

B.[ryson] B.[urroughs]. "A Painting by Daumier." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 5 (January 1910), pp. 23–24, ill.

"Increasing Interest Being Shown in Paintings of the Great Caricaturist Honoré Daumier, One of Which is at Metropolitan Museum Here." New York Times (June 28, 1914), p. SM11.

B[ryson]. B[urroughs]. "Nineteenth-Century French Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 13 (August 1918), p. 178, ill. p. 176, as "Don Quixote".

Erich Klossowski. Honoré Daumier. 2nd rev. ed. Munich, 1923, pp. 45–46, 89, no. 39, pl. 39, calls the Kröller-Müller version (Maison 1968, no. I-201) an almost exact repetition of our picture [erroneously lists the Kröller-Müller version as two different pictures].

Frank Jewett Mather, Jr. Modern Painting. Garden City, N.Y., 1927, pp. 80–81, ill., as "Don Quixote Halted at the View of a Dead Horse".

Eduard Fuchs. Der Maler Daumier. Munich, 1927, pp. 15, 38, 52, no. 158, pl. 158 [2nd rev. ed., 1930], as "Don Quichotte"; states that there is a nearly identical repetition of this picture.

A[lfred]. H. B[arr]. Jr. Corot – Daumier. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1930, pp. 19–20, 31, no. 47, ill., compares it to a vertical composition of the same subject painted for the wall of Daubigny's studio in Auvers (Musée d'Orsay, Paris; M I-209).

Bryson Burroughs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue of Paintings. 9th ed. New York, 1931, p. 85, no. D261–1.

David Rosen Henri Marceau in Daumier 1808–1879. Exh. cat., Pennsylvania Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1937, pp. 11–12, note that an x-ray of this picture revealed scored grooves in the panel surface "used to provide a firm grip for the gesso ground".

Claude Roger-Marx in Daumier 1808–1879. Exh. cat., Pennsylvania Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1937, pp. 8, 24, no. 11, ill.

Lionello Venturi. Modern Painters. Vol. 1, New York, 1947, pp. 185–86.

Marcelle Dureteste in Monticelli et le Baroque provençal. Exh. cat., Orangerie des Tuileries. [Paris], 1953, p. 16, no. 28, states that there are two nearly identical replicas of this picture [see Ref. Klossowski 1923].

K. E. Maison. "Daumier Studies— I: Preparatory Drawings." Burlington Magazine 96 (January 1954), p. 14, fig. 11, reproduces a charcoal drawing of this composition in reverse (now Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Los Angeles; M D-442, M D-443), noting that it was traced in chalk on the verso and squared for transfer, clearly in preparation for the MMA painting; calls the Kröller-Müller version (M I-201) a painted sketch.

Jean Adhémar. Honoré Daumier. Paris, 1954, p. 91 n. 97, p. 130, no. 166, pl. 166, dates it about 1868; identifies it as no. 48 in Exh. Paris 1878; erroneously lists the Sanmarcelli sale, 1895, in the provenance [this is a picture in the Kunstmuseum Basel; M I-83); suggests that Daumier may have chosen to represent this minor episode because Gustave Doré illustrated it in an 1863 edition of Cervantes's novel.

K. E. Maison. "Further Daumier Studies— I: The Tracings." Burlington Magazine 98 (May 1956), p. 166, calls the Kröller-Müller picture (Maison 1968, no. I-201) a "perfectly genuine second version of the painting".

Catalogue of Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Painting. Otterlo, 1957, p. 27, under no. 85, calls it a replica of the Kröller-Müller version.

A. Hyatt Mayor. "The Gifts that Made the Museum." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (November 1957), p. 86.

K. E. Maison in Daumier: Paintings and Drawings. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. [London], 1961, p. 46, under no. 99, calls the Kröller-Müller picture the earlier version.

Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, XIX Century. New York, 1966, pp. 43–44, ill., note that Daumier departed from Cervantes's text by representing Sancho Panza on his donkey instead of on foot; tentatively characterize the Kröller-Müller picture as a sketch.

Robert Rey. Honoré Daumier. New York, [1966], pp. 154–55, ill. (color), dates it about 1868.

K. E. Maison. Honoré Daumier: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolours, and Drawings. Vol. 1, The Paintings. Greenwich, Conn., 1968, p. 162, no. I-202, pl. 160, calls it "Don Quixote dans les Montagnes" and dates it about 1866; erroneously repeats that it is on canvas support and that it was in the Sanmarcelli sale; considers it the second version, adding that "a few years may well separate the two versions"; observes that our painting "is undoubtedly the result" of the drawing squared for transfer (Maison 1967, no. D-443) since the compositions correspond in all details.

Gabriele Mandel in L'opera pittorica completa di Daumier. Milan, 1971, pp. 110–11, no. 260, ill. and colorpl. LB, dates it 1866.

Claude Roy. Daumier. Geneva, 1971, ill. p. 78 (color), dates it about 1866.

Sarah Symmons. Daumier. London, 1979, p. 102, under no. 83, asserts that the Kröller-Müller version is a preparatory sketch for our picture.

Bruce Laughton. Honoré Daumier. New Haven, 1996, p. 184 n. 12, states that Daumier pasted the preparatory drawing onto a piece of glass in order to trace it for transfer to our painting.

Pierre Cabanne. Honoré Daumier: Témoin de la comédie humaine. [Paris], 1999, p. 15, ill. p. 180 (color), dates it 1866.

Michael Pantazzi in Daumier, 1808–1879. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, 1999, p. 24.

Henri Loyrette in Daumier, 1808–1879. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, 1999, pp. 526–27, no. 359, ill. (color), dates it about 1860; asserts that the Kröller-Müller version was executed some ten years earlier in the mid-1850s; compares both versions to the two paintings of "The Fugitives," also executed ten years apart (about 1849–50, private collection, M I-27; about 1865–70, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, M I-215).

Robert Fohr. Daumier: Sculpteur et peintre. Paris, 1999, ill. p. 113 (color), dates it 1867.

Dominique Lobstein with Catherine L. Blais in Daumier, 1808–1879. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, 1999, p. 566.

This painting and an earlier oil sketch (Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo; M I-201) derive from two charcoal drawings on the recto and verso of the same sheet (Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Los Angeles; M D-442, M D-443).
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