Victor Hugo

Honoré Daumier French
Printed and published by Aubert et Cie French
Sitter Victor Hugo French

Not on view

The literary and political lives of Victor Hugo, one of themost frequently portrayed figures of his day, were favorite subjects for caricaturists until his death in 1885. Besides being a well-known author, Hugo was also a politician. He began as a conservative, but his increasingly liberal republican views eventually forced him into a period of exile. This print, from a series of 109 images of legislators by Daumier called "Les Représentans Représentés" (The Representatives Represented), was made just after Hugo was elected to the Legislative Assembly. Already famous for his writing at that point, he stands on a large stack of books. The inscription translates as "He has just been posed a grave question, he gives himself over to somber reflections -Somber reflection can only illuminate the grave question! - And so isn't he the most somber of all great grave men!" Created in a period of strict censorship laws, imposed in 1835, the portraits and accompanying inscriptions in "Les Représentans Représentés" are much more genial than those in the artist's earlier renderings of political figures. Les Célébrités de "La Caricature". Daumier drew the later series in a style of caricature that was becoming popular around this time, in which the subject's large head sits on a small body.

Victor Hugo, Honoré Daumier (French, Marseilles 1808–1879 Valmondois), Lithograph

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