Hammer Daumier Collection
- Honoré Daumier Le passe. Le present. L’avenir. January 9, 1834 Lithograph. The Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection. Gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation.
- Honoré Daumier Un Avocat Plaidant (The Pleading Lawyer) c. 1845 Watercolor, ink, gouache, and charcoal. The Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection. Gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation.
- Honoré Daumier Les Avocats (The Lawyers) c. 1860 Oil on canvas. The Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection. Gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation.
- Honoré Daumier Don Quixote et Sancho Panza (Don Quixote and Sancho Panza) 1866-1868 Oil on canvas. The Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection. Gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation.
- Honoré Daumier -Dites donc, papa Drouillet, avec c'te envergure lå, vous devez pas nager comme un Dauphin. -Oui mais vous, vous étes joliment taillé pour faire la planche. -Well say then, papa Drouillet, with that breadth, you shouldn't swim like a Dolphin. -Yes, but you, you are beautifully sized to be the gangblank. September 22, 1840 Lithograph. Sheet: 10 1/4 x 13 1/2 in. (26 x 34.3 cm). The Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection, Gift of Dr. Armand Hammer. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
- Honoré Daumier M.M. Victor Hugo et Emile Giradin cherchent á élever le prince Louis sur un Pavois, ça n’est pas très solide! (Misters Victor Hugo and Emile Girardin trying to raise Prince Louis, it isn’t very solid!) December 11, 1848 Lithograph. The Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection. Gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation.
- Honoré Daumier Ratapoil c. 1925 Bronze. The Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection. Gift of Dr. Armand Hammer.
- Honoré Daumier Masques de 1831 March 8, 1832 Lithograph. The Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection. Gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation.
- Honoré Daumier NE VOUS Y FROTTEZ PAS!! 1834 Lithograph. The Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection. Gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation.
ABOUT THE COLLECTION
The Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection is one of the most extensive collections of prints, drawings, paintings, and sculpture by the nineteenth-century French satirist Honoré Daumier. Also included are prints and drawings by many of Daumier's fellow nineteenth-century caricaturists. This collection provides a humorous window onto politics, culture, and day-to-day life in nineteenth-century France.
Honoré Daumier: A Finger on the Pulse
By Carolyn Peter
The life and career of Honoré Daumier (1808–79) spanned almost the entire nineteenth century. He was incredibly prolific, producing more than four thousand lithographs, one thousand wood engravings, several hundred drawings and paintings, and numerous sculptures. With humor and with humanism, his art addressed the twists and turns of the tumultuous French political scene as well as many other aspects of life in nineteenth-century France. Although focused on his own era, his images have a universality that allows them to cross cultural and temporal boundaries.
The Early Years
Daumier was born in Marseilles on February 26, 1808. When he was eight years old, his father moved the family to Paris, where the elder Daumier had relocated the year before to pursue a writing career. In 1820, at the age of twelve, Daumier went to work as an errand boy for a court bailiff. His exposure to the courts and to the literary arts had a great effect on him, and they became two of his most enduring artistic subjects. He began studying art in 1822 under his father’s friend Alexandre Lenoir (1761–1839), who was a painter and an archaeologist. The same year, Daumier enrolled at the Académie Suisse, but his formal art training did not last long. In 1825 he became an apprentice to the lithographer Zépherin Belliard.
Daumier entered the world of newspaper caricature as an artist in his own right in 1830. At the time, the political climate in France was going through significant changes. King Charles X was forced to step down, and King Louis-Philippe established a constitutional monarchy. The new king liberalized the press laws as he had promised, thus opening the door to more political caricature. Charles Philipon and Gabriel Aubert began publishing a weekly satiric journal entitled La Caricature at the end of this year. Daumier soon established strong ties with Philipon and the publishing house Maison Aubert. More
Like Daumier, Aubert and Philipon were left-leaning republicans, and their newspapers served as a platform for their views. At a time when weekly and daily newspapers were one of the public’s main sources of information, Aubert and Philipon astutely understood their potential power and value. They founded a second satirical journal, Le Charivari, on December 1, 1832. It ran on a daily basis, virtually without interruption, until 1893. Daumier’s caricatures were a fixture of the paper for more than forty years. Le Charivari was geared toward an upper-middle-class male readership, who, most likely, also held republican sentiments. The journal was sold by subscription and was also available for sale at the Maison Aubert shop. Interested lower-middle-class readers could read it for free at the public reading rooms. The paper was made up of four pages. The first page was usually devoted to a political essay, the second page covered more daily social activities, the third page had a full-page lithograph, and the back page included continuations of the articles as well as advertisements. Small wood-engraved images might also be interspersed with the articles on pages 1, 2, and 4. While the caricatures did not specifically illustrate the articles, the words and images reinforced each other with their biting commentary on political and social issues.
Process and Collaboration
To publish Le Charivari on a daily basis was a feat that involved the collaboration of a number of different people. Daumier drew his caricatures directly on the lithographic stone or the wood-engraving block. From that point on, a number of others had crucial roles in the process of getting the artist’s work from the stone or woodblock onto paper and then into the journal. This complex dance took place under strict and short publication deadlines.
To create a lithograph, Daumier would use a greasy pencil or a soft litho crayon to draw an image directly on the surface of a thick, polished Bavarian limestone that had been prepared and delivered to his studio by Maison Aubert. As he was composing the image, he would have to think in reverse, because, as with all print processes, the image was printed in reverse on the paper. Once he was finished, he would send the stone back to the Maison Aubert, where the printer would take over. The printer would chemically fix the image on the surface of the stone. He would then cover the stone with a thin layer of water, which adhered only to the unmarked areas. The greasy drawing repelled the water but attracted the ink, which was then applied with a leather roller. The printer would then place a damp piece of paper on the stone and run it through a printing press.
Wood engraving required a somewhat different procedure. Once Daumier had drawn the design on a woodblock, usually boxwood, it would be sent to an engraver, who would use a tool called a burin to carve into the wood, leaving Daumier’s lines raised above the surface in relief. The small wood engravings could be incorporated on the same page with printing type, while the bulky lithographs could not.
Once the printer had printed a few impressions of the full-page lithographs and was satisfied with the product, one copy would be sent to a writer responsible for creating the caption that would accompany the caricature. The captions functioned as an integral part of Daumier’s prints and gave the added humorous, scathing punch, creating distinct voices for his characters. The writer also worked under short deadlines, composing directly on the printed sheet. Once the writer had written the caption, the annotated lithograph was sent back to the printer, and the whole edition was printed. Once the four pages of Le Charivari were printed and assembled, they were sent to subscribers. This laborious process would have been repeated on a daily basis.
Some of Daumier’s print series were so popular that Philipon and subsequent publishers at Maison Aubert chose to publish the prints again in special editions on higher-quality paper (these prints are known as sur blanc), sometimes with hand-coloring. In 1834 Philipon also issued a subscription series, called L’Association mensuelle, of larger-scale prints. Some of Daumier’s best-known lithographs—such as The Legislative Belly and Rue Transnoinan, April 15, 1834—were part of this special series.
Because their prints were often political in nature, Daumier and Philipon had to deal with the government’s sensitivity to their images and with the laws governing the press, which changed with each regime (see the timeline for more details). In the first year of Louis-Philippe’s reign, he loosened the laws, and the press enjoyed a relative amount of liberty. The king, however, grew testy when caricatures of him began to appear with regularity. On December 16, 1831, Maison Aubert submitted a proof of Daumier’s Gargantua to the Dépot legal (the copyright office) in accordance with the law. In late December the police seized an impression of Gargantua from the window of Maison Aubert’s shop and ordered that the stone and all copies of the lithograph be destroyed. The print shows a gigantic King Louis-Philippe sitting on a toilet-throne. Worn-out workers gather at the bottom of a plank to drop their coins into baskets, which are carted up the plank by ministers to the king’s open mouth and dumped in. Out the other end come rewards and decrees, which his eager ministers pick up. Daumier, Aubert, and Hippolyte Delaporte, the printer, were brought to trial in February 1832 and found guilty of lèse-majesté (the crime of violating the dignity of a sovereign ruler). Each was sentenced to six months in prison and fined five hundred francs. Only Daumier served his prison term. Philipon relentlessly continued to publish caricatures of the king by Daumier and others, until the government passed rigorous new censorship laws in September 1835, which effectively brought political caricature to a halt. At this time Daumier and others turned their attention to social issues. He and his publishers did their best to find ways to sneak political commentary past the censors, often in the guise of a seemingly benign image. Daumier saw the press laws tighten and loosen several more times during his career. In all, only two dozen of his prints were censored, and he went to prison only once.
Nineteenth-Century France through Daumier’s Eyes
Daumier developed a distinctive caricature style early in his career. He had the uncanny ability to exaggerate a known figure’s features in such a way that he was both recognizable and much more humorous. Daumier also knew which stereotypical characteristics to play up when creating his more generalized types, so that his satires were easily comprehended. He was an impressive observer of and commentator on the world around him. His subject matter was so broad and his observations so astute that one can gain a strong understanding of his perspective on the issues of the lives of nineteenth-century Parisian bourgeois and working-class citizens. Besides his many political caricatures, Daumier also covered subjects as far reaching as literature, the theater, transportation, the justice system, personal relationships and gender roles, education, landlords and tenants, foreigners and other cultures, science and technology, and the art world.
Daumier addressed many of the same contemporary themes in his drawings, paintings, and sculpture. While best known for his caricatures, he did work in these other media for much of his career as well. He translated his realist style into tonally dark, dramatic painting compositions that sometimes felt almost abstract. He showed several paintings at annual Salons, and he also received painting commissions from the state over the years. In his sketches one can see how carefully he studied the human figure and movement. Similarly, his series Le Juste Milieu (also known as The Parliamentarians), comprising thirty-six small busts of well-known men, and his sculpture Ratapoil helped him to understand better some of the characteristics of the men who were often subjects of his caricatures.
Daumier in the Twenty-first Century
Today chuckles as well as deep discussions can be heard in the galleries of a Daumier exhibition. Certainly his art provides a window onto nineteenth-century French life, but it also explores aspects of the human experience that are still relevant today. We continue to grapple with many of the same social, political, and emotional issues and find both comfort and discomfort in discovering ourselves in Daumier’s caricatures, paintings, and sculptures.
The Hammer Collection
One of the most comprehensive collections outside France, the Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection comprises more than seventy-five hundred objects that provide a particularly in-depth look at Daumier’s artistic oeuvre in lithography, wood engraving, painting, drawing, and sculpture. Also included in the collection are prints and drawings by other French caricaturists who were contemporaries of Daumier. Armand Hammer began collecting Daumier’s work in 1971 and eventually acquired George Longstreet’s and Hans Rothe’s impressive collections, which had been accumulated over many decades. Hammer collected works by Daumier and his contemporaries until his death in 1990. The UCLA Hammer Museum continues to add a few select works to augment the rich collection.
Carolyn Peter is director of the Laband Art Gallery at Loyola Marymount University.