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See also: Honoré Daumier and His Lithographic Work
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Daumier, Honoré VictorinFrench caricaturist, painter and sculptor. He began work as a graphic artist, having learnt lithography techniques in 1830, and been employed on Charivari and La Caricature (1830-35) until the latter's suppression by the government. He was imprisoned in 1832 for his anti-monarchical satire of Louis Philippe as Gargantua and during the course of his life he produced over 4,000 lithographs of political and social comment, including large scale works (e.g. Rue Transnonian le 15 Avril 1834).
After 1848, he produced watercolours which continued this vein, parodying the Courts of Justice, and depicting the existence of the poor. He created two memorable characters in Robert Macaire, the corrupt and money obsessed bourgeois, and Ratapoil (skinned rat), the sinister government agent.
He also experimented with oils including several on the theme of Don Quixote, although many of his pictures remained unfinished, producing loosely handled, thickly impasto works of strong chiaroscuro (e.g. Third Class Carriage; Heavy Burden, 1850 55, Cardiff, National Museum of Wales).
He also produced sculpture which showed the same roughness of handling and concern for social issues (e.g. Ratapoil, bronze, 1850-51, Buffalo, Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Refugees, bronze relief, 1850, Washington, DC).
He became blind in old age, and was rescued from poverty by Corot, who was one of his many artistic admirers. Degas collected his work which was appreciated by Delacroix and Baudelaire as well as, perhaps not surprisingly, Balzac. He was also greatly admired by the 20th century Expressionists, who applauded both his radical stance and the freedom with which he used materials."
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