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Honore Daumier (1808-1879)
Property from the family of Hunt Henderson, New Orleans
Honore Daumier (1808-1879)

L'amateur d'estampes

Details
Honore Daumier (1808-1879)
L'amateur d'estampes
oil on panel
8 3/8 x 6 ½ in. (21.2 x 16.5 cm.)
Painted circa 1860
Provenance
Longa collection, Paris (by 1930).
Jacques Lassaigne, Paris.
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune & Cie., Paris.
M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York (acquired from the above, by 1952).
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owners, April 1960.
Literature
E. Fuchs, Der Maler Daumier, Nachtrag, Munich, 1930, p. 63, no. 299a (illustrated, p. 299; with inverted dimensions).
C. Sterling, Daumier, Peintures, aquarelles, dessins, exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, 1934, pp. 56-57, no. 22 (illustrated).
J. Lassaigne, Daumier, Paris, 1938, p. 166 (illustrated in color, pl. 57; with inverted dimensions).
J. Lassaigne, "Daumier," Les grands maîtres de la peinture, Paris, 1946 (illustrated in color, pl. 15).
R. Cogniat, French Painting at the Time of the Impressionists, New York, 1951, p. 21 (illustrated in color).
C. Schweicher, Daumier, Paris, 1953 (illustrated, pl. 18; with incorrect support and inverted dimensions).
K.E. Maison, Honoré Daumier, Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolours and Drawings, London, 1968, vol. I, p. 123, no. I-135 (illustrated, pl. 90).
Exhibited
New York, The Century Association, Paintings, Lithographs, and Drawings by Daumier, March-May 1955.
New Orleans, Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans Collects, Early Masters of Modern Art, November-December 1968, no. 4 (illustrated; dated circa 1855).
St. Petersburg, Florida, Museum of Fine Arts, 1970-2017 (on extended loan).

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Vanessa Fusco
Vanessa Fusco

Lot Essay

Reviewing the only lifetime retrospective of Daumier’s work, held at Galerie Durand-Ruel in the spring of 1878, eight months before the artist’s death, Marius Vachon commended Daumier for having studied and depicted “with striking veracity the many varieties of that social class: the passionate collector, the man of the world, the skeptic, the blasé collector, the man who collects for the fun of it, the ordinary collector of images” (quoted in Daumier, exh, cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1999, p. 398).
The present Lamateur destampes is the first version of three such titled paintings on panel, in which a print enthusiast leans forward to turn, in rapt attention, the sheets in a folio of a set of prints on a bench in a gallery corner, the walls behind him lined with framed paintings and pinned-up works on paper. The second, larger version, a mostly grisaille study, displays a more brightly lit interior (Maison, no. I-136; Philadelphia Museum of Art). The third and final version is on canvas (no. 34 in the 1878 exhibition), and depicts the collector attired in black, the gallery wall hung with prints only (Maison, no. I-137; fig. 1).
The theme of the collector preoccupied Daumier during the early 1860s; he painted some twenty variations on this subject, together with nearly thirty drawings and watercolors. He needed to attract a clientele and display his gratitude for their support. In March 1860, Charles Philipon, the owner of Le Charivari, the daily newspaper dedicated to humor for which Daumier had been famously producing illustrations since its founding in 1832, suddenly terminated the artist’s employment. The publisher’s management claimed in an article that readers and the police had vehemently complained about the content in Daumier’s work, resulting in an alarming rise of cancelled subscriptions. Not mentioned was the fact that Napoléon III had re-instituted repressive measures against the press, and his agents were tracking subscribers, rendering them liable to harassment.
Without work, Daumier’s financial situation quickly deteriorated. He turned to drawing and, for the first time in his career, devoted most of his time to painting in oils and watercolor. This move, born of necessity, eventually led to the wider appreciation of his genius, not only as a peerless practitioner of topical illustration, but as a uniquely impassioned and empathetic master of enduring fine art. Although Daumier in early 1862 resumed working in lithography and illustration, and the new editor of Le Charivari reinstated him in December 1863, he continued during the latter part of his career to broaden the scope of his art and to cultivate the growing clientele that had come to admire and collect it.
“He has everything: a generous touch, draughtsmanship, color, ideas,” Paul Foucher wrote in praise of the 1878 retrospective. “Such pictures seem to have been sketched by Michelangelo and painted by Delacroix.” Some forty years on, Louis Vauxcelles declared Daumier to be “a painter, first and foremost. Everyone realizes this now… Daumier was thought of as a tabloid caricaturist; so he was, a magnificent one, but he was first a painter, above all a painter, always a painter” (quoted in ibid., p. 64).

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