HONORÉ DAUMIER (1808-1879)
HONORÉ DAUMIER (1808-1879)
HONORÉ DAUMIER (1808-1879)
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HONORÉ DAUMIER (1808-1879)

Le Drame

HONORÉ DAUMIER (1808-1879)
Le Drame
signed with initials 'h.D.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
8 ¼ x 13 ½ in. (21 x 34.2 cm.)
Galerie Thannhauser, Lucerne (by 1916).
Max Braunthal, Frankfurt-am-Main and Paris (acquired from the above 18 May 1926, until at least April 1939).
with Sam Salz, Paris (acquired from the above, 1939).
Wildenstein & Co. Ltd, London (acquired from the above, 13 May 1939).
Wildenstein & Co. Inc., New York (acquired from the above).
Oliver B. James, Phoenix (acquired from the above, June 1952); Estate sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, 19 October 1955, lot 45.
Acquired by the family of the present owners, circa 1955.

Please note that the present work is being offered for sale pursuant to a settlement agreement between the current owner and heirs of Max Braunthal. The settlement agreement resolves the dispute over ownership of the work and title will pass to the successful bidder.
Katalog der Modernen Galerie Heinrich Thannhauser, Munich, 1916 (illustrated, pl. 7).
E. Klossowski, Honoré Daumier, Munich, 1923, no. 104A (illustrated, pl. 56).
"A Typical Example of a Great Frenchman's Art" in The Art News, 29 December 1923, vol. XXII, no. 12,p. 4 (illustrated; titled Théâtre).
M.T. Sadleir, Daumier: The Man and The Artist, London, 1924 (illustrated, pl. 11).
E. Fuchs, Der Maler Daumier, New York, 1927, p. 51, no. 134a (illustrated, pl. 134; with incorrect dimensions).
J. Adhémar, Honoré Daumier, Paris, 1954, p. 123.
K.E. Maison, Honoré Daumier: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolours and Drawings, New York, 1968, vol. I, p. 205, no. II-45 (illustrated, pl. 197; with incorrect cataloguing).
G. Mandel, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Daumier, Paris, 1972, p. 104, no. 188 (illustrated; with incorrect cataloguing).
Kunstgebäude Stuttgart, Grosse Kunstausstellung, May-October 1913, p. 61, no. 312.
Further details
This work will be included in the forthcoming supplement of K.E. Maison's Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre de Daumier, currently being prepared by the Comité Honoré Daumier.

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Lot Essay

An astute social commentator, Daumier made a career out of observing his contemporaries. Whether depicting a rioting mob, a railway carriage full of passengers, a packed courtroom or visitors at an exhibition, Daumier reveled in the possibilities of caricature, contrast and movement afforded by the depiction of a crowded scene.
The theater provided an obvious forum for Daumier and many of his contemporaries, notably Edgar Degas, to indulge their talents. The contrasts between the stage and the audience provided Daumier with a two-fold drama. He was particularly fascinated by the contrasts of light and dark, the multiple expressions of the audience—bored, excited, rapt—as it reacted to a performance, and the myriad compositional possibilities afforded by the unique physical layout of the theatre, with its stage, private boxes, sloping stalls and orchestra pit, each with its own defined characters.
"So he stalked his favourite quarry, theatre audiences, seeing them as microcosms of society and an obvious metaphor for the world in all its facets: chic theatre and vaudeville; melodrama and grand opera; cynical critics in the orchestra rows and fashionable ladies in their boxes; spectators enthralled by the show or relaxing during the intermission; theatre-goers viewed from the front, eagerly waiting for the curtain to rise, or from the back, with a glimpse of the brilliant stage beyond" (H. Loyrette, Daumier, exh. cat, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1999, p. 418).
Max (Maximilian Julius) Braunthal (1878-1946) was a German art collector of Jewish descent and the founder and owner of a well-known luxury department store on Zeil, the famous shopping street in Frankfurt-am-Main. Following the sale of his business in 1924 and divorce from his first wife Elsa (née Bork, 1881-1934), he moved to France in 1929, settling in Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris with his second-wife Lotte (née Silbermann, 1901-1988).
From 1902 onwards, Braunthal started to build a collection of paintings, drawings and etchings with a focus on German artists such as Max Liebermann, Franz von Lenbach, Adolph Menzel, Wilhelm Trübner and Fritz von Uhde, as well as French artists like Honoré Daumier, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Gustave Courbet, Alfred Sisley and Jean Baptiste Camille Corot.
Although Max Braunthal had left Germany before the Nazis came to power in 1933, he was cut off from his remaining belongings and assets in Germany and obliged to pay discriminative taxes to the Nazi authorities there. To meet these obligations and to support his family, Braunthal started to sell the artworks from his collection which he had managed to bring to France; these dispersed artworks are the focus of the current family’s restitution efforts.
The Braunthal’s precarious situation worsened after the occupation of France: their apartment was confiscated and Max and Lotte were interned in the camps at Drancy and Gurs, before going into hiding. The couple returned to their home after the war but Max Braunthal died shortly after, in 1946.
Max’s son Erich (1905-1966), an artist who studied under Max Liebermann, survived the war in France and his daughter Lotte Cecile (1907-1994) had been able to flee to the US. However, his second daughter Anneliese (1913-1944) and her husband Herbert Cohen (1901-1944) were killed in Auschwitz.
Please note that the present work is being offered for sale pursuant to a settlement agreement between the current owner and heirs of Max Braunthal. The settlement agreement resolves the dispute over ownership of the work and title will pass to the successful bidder.

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