Honoré Daumier & La Maison Aubert: Political and Social Satire in Paris

Mr. Jacot-Lefaive detail by Honoré Daumier
Mar 01, 2008 - Jun 01, 2008
European Galleries

To celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of the gifted 19th-century artist Honoré Daumier (1808-1879), the Zimmerli has organized an exhibition featuring Daumier’s major prints and rare sculptures to emphasize the mastery of this skillful caricaturist of the July Monarchy (1830-1848) and the Second Empire (1852-1870).

The exhibition features Daumier’s most subversive works, which include the portrait-caricature series of The Celebrities of the Juste-Milieu (1832-1835), which comprises 36 painted clay busts of politicians and other personalities of the July Monarchy. The Zimmerli Art Museum is the only American institution to own a complete set of this exceedingly rare series made from the original works now housed in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

These quickly modeled busts were kept in the workshop of publisher Charles Philipon’s La Maison Aubert, where artists referred to them to create politically charged lithographs. The series is displayed vis-à-vis their lithographic counterparts to illustrate a still unique commission in the history of art: a series of three-dimensional statuettes made solely to be used as visual references for two-dimensional artworks.

Examples of Daumier’s non-political genre scenes, created primarily from the 1840s to the 1860s, are also included. Daumier, an acute observer of the newly powerful bourgeoisie, recorded societal changes—ranging from fashionable pastimes of swimming and ice-skating to the new modes of transportation changing Parisian life—with verve, humor, and poignancy.

The Florence Gould Foundation provided generous funding support towards the realization of this important Daumier exhibition and its accompanying catalogue, authored by Florence Quideau and Edouard Papet.

Honoré Daumier

Mr. Jacot-Lefaive (detail)

Le Charivari, November 9, 1833 (D. 173)

Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers