Honore Daumier: The Print Collector, c. 1857-63.
Oil on cradled panel
42.3 x 33 cm.
The Art Institute, Chicago
Daumier (1808-1879): Visions of Paris
LONDON • Royal Academy of Arts • Ongoing
|Admired by the avantgarde circles of 19th century France and described by Baudelaire as one of the most important men ‘in the whole of modern art,’ the exhibition explores Daumier’s legacy through 130 works, many of which have never been seen in the UK before, with a concentration on paintings, drawings, watercolours and sculptures. |
Daumier (1808-1879): Visions of Paris is displayed chronologically, spanning the breadth and variety of his often experimental artistic output and exploring themes of judgement, spectatorship and reverie. One of Daumier’s favourite subjects became the silent contemplation of art, as seen in The Print Collector, 1857-63 (The Art Institute of Chicago) and in the terrified performer alone on the stage in What A Frightful Spectacle c.1865 (Private Collection).
A staunch Republican, Daumier was particularly renowned for his daring and uncompromising caricatures of the manners and pretensions of his era, including the corruption of the government of Louis-Philippe, the King of France from 1830-1848. Drawn with an unforgettable energy and expressiveness, the majority of these works were published as lithographs in newspapers. At the end of Daumier’s life he created scenes and allegories of the link between nationalism and military action: the ideal female figures of France and Liberty, contrasted with the jester or Don Quixote, two characters Daumier closely identified with.
Daumier believed artists should ‘be of their times’, and his work drew praise from his contemporaries Delacroix and Corot, and those of the next generation, Degas, Cézanne and Van Gogh. However, he has also affected the work of many artists of the last century, including Picasso and Francis Bacon, and more recently Paula Rego, Peter Doig, William Kentridge and Quentin Blake Hon RA.
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