The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

Master Impressions from the UAMA Collections: Honoré Daumier

Honoré Daumier Ingrate patrie, tu n'auras pas mon oeuvre!, 1840

August 31, 2010 – January 30, 2011

Honoré Daumier was a French caricaturist, painter, sculptor and printmaker who lived from 1808 – 1879. Called the “Michelangelo of caricature” by contemporaries, Daumier was most famous for his caricatures of French politics and social movements. Daumier’s prints were so widely circulated and well known that the July Monarch, Louis Philippe, imprisoned him for six months in reaction to Daumier’s depiction of the king as Rabelais’s gluttonous and greedy Gargantua.

Several of Daumier’s prints in the collection have visible newsprint behind them. Like political cartoons today, Daumier’s caricatures were printed for mass distribution; the two lithographs on newspaper were both printed in Le Charivari. Le Charivari was a primarily anti-monarchist paper based in Paris and was often the target of censorship by King Louis Philippe. Le Charivari’s political lithographs landed several of its creators in prison, after which they only published social satires. Daumier, in conjunction with Le Charivari, was seen as a very real threat to the monarchy. Arguing for a ban on prints, Minister of Commerce Charles Duchatel told the legislature that “there is nothing more dangerous, gentlemen, than these infamous caricatures, these seditious designs,” which “produce the most deadly effect.” Though continually fined and censored, Le Charivari managed to publish daily for most of its existence. It helped spread Daumier’s fame to the rest of Europe, particularly England where he was a major influence for decades after his death.

This is the curatorial debut of Jessica Larson. Jessica is a summer intern from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, working under the direction of Lauren Rabb, UAMA Curator of Art.

Master Impressions from the UAMA Collections

This series of small, rotating presentations showcases the exceptional breadth and depth of the UAMA print collection. These selections offer focused consideration of a particularly significant artist or theme, and elucidate some of the most influential developments in the Western printmaking tradition.

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Master Impressions from the UAMA Collections