The Connoisseur

Honoré Daumier French

Not on view

When, in 1860, Daumier was temporarily let go by his primary employer—the popular magazine that published his lithographs, Le Charivari—he began to produce highly finished watercolors such as this one to appeal to a burgeoning market of bourgeois collectors. Throughout his career, he often treated the theme of art spectators and enthusiasts. Here, he portrayed an exemplary connoisseur reclining in an armchair and contemplating his surrounding collection. The object of his gaze is a tabletop replica of the Venus de Milo, the monumental Greek marble that came to symbolize the beauty of Antique art upon its installation in the Musée du Louvre in 1821. This watercolor was included in Daumier’s only one-man exhibition during his lifetime, held at the Durand-Ruel Gallery in 1878.

The Connoisseur, Honoré Daumier (French, Marseilles 1808–1879 Valmondois), Pen and ink, wash, watercolor, lithographic crayon, and gouache over black chalk on wove paper

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