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Daumier Drawings

Daumier Drawings

Ives, Colta, Margret Stuffmann, and Martin Sonnabend, with contributions by Klaus Herding and Judith Wechsler
280 pages
279 illustrations
9.5 x 11 in
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Honoré Daumier (1808–1879) is best known as the nimble caricaturist of French politics and the habits of the bourgeoisie. The nearly 4,000 lithographs he created for the Parisian press have long been appreciated as magic windows on the perils and follies of everyday life and continue to be widely admired. However, it is in his rarer and less famous drawings and watercolors, the private work he made for himself and a very limited audience, that Daumier most clearly emerges as an artist of exceptional genius. Indeed, it was on the strength of his skill as a draughtsman that Baudelaire declared Daumier the equal of Ingres and Delacroix.

This volume accompanies an exhibition at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, offering the most extensive display of Daumier's drawings since the Paris retrospectives of 1901 and 1934. Featuring about 150 works from twenty of the world's foremost museums and from private collections, it includes casual sketches produced by the artist to vent his restless imagination as well as many of the highly finished watercolors he designed as formal presentations of his art. By combining Daumier's drawings with selected examples of his paintings, prints, and bronzes, this book traces the evolution of the artist's succinct and emphatically expressive style from its roots in the European tradition exemplified by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Fragonard to its modern manifestations in the works of Degas, Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Beckmann.

In the course of his long and productive career Daumier returned again and again to favorite themes, often after considerable lapses of time. Thus the works here are grouped by their subject matter into six sections: studies of individual figures and faces; narrative scenes inspired by history or literature; views of contemporary urban and domestic life; dramatic portrayals of lawyers in court; depictions of street performers; and episodes in the wanderings of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

Five essays, in which the exhibition's curators are joined by two other scholars of nineteenth-century art history, investigate particular aspects of Daumier's work as a draughtsman: the character of his fluid, energetic style; the complex iconography and structure of his drawings; the essentially sculptural nature of his art; his effective mastery of pose and gesture; and his personal view of the artist's role in society.

Honoré Daumier
CHAM (Amédée Charles Henri, Comte de Noé)
January 1–March 5, 1871
Saint Sebastian, Honoré Daumier  French, Charcoal on wove paper
Honoré Daumier
Street Show (Paillasse) (recto); a clown playing a drum (verso), Honoré Daumier  French, Black chalk and watercolor on laid paper (recto);  graphite and black chalk (verso)
Honoré Daumier
The Connoisseur, Honoré Daumier  French, Pen and ink, wash, watercolor, lithographic crayon, and gouache over black chalk on wove paper
Honoré Daumier
ca. 1860–65
Centaur Abducting a Satyress, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo  Italian, Pen and dark brown ink, brush and gray-brown wash, over black chalk
Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
Le ventre législatif:  Aspect des bancs ministériels de la chambre improstituée de 1834, Honoré Daumier  French, Lithograph
Honoré Daumier
Association Mensuelle
January 1834
Rue Transnonain,  le 15 Avril, 1834, Plate 24 of l'Association mensuelle, Honoré Daumier  French, Lithograph
Honoré Daumier
July 1834
Clément-François-Victor-Gabriel Prunelle, published in "La Caricature", Honoré Daumier  French, Lithograph
Multiple artists/makers
June 27, 1833
The Third-Class Carriage, Honoré Daumier  French, Oil on canvas
Honoré Daumier
The Flight into Egypt: a Night Piece, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn)  Dutch, Etching with plate tone; first state
Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn)
The Search for an Inn, Charles-François Daubigny  French, Etching; fifth state of seven (Delteil)
Charles-François Daubigny
A Man Reading in a Garden (recto); Preliminary sketch for a Man Reading in a Garden (verso), Honoré Daumier  French, Watercolor over black chalk, with pen and ink, brush and wash, and lithographic crayon.<br/>Verso: pen and brown ink, black gray wash, and lithographic crayon
Honoré Daumier
ca. 1865
Two Male Heads, Honoré Daumier  French, Conté crayon and wash. Laid paper.
Honoré Daumier
19th century
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Honoré Daumier  French, Black chalk and gray wash on wove paper
Honoré Daumier
19th century

View Citations

Ives, Colta Feller, Margret Stuffmann, and Martin Sonnabend. 1992. Daumier Drawings. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art : Distributed by Harry N. Abrams, Inc.