Catalogue to accompany the exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (26 October 2013–26 January 2014).
Honoré Daumier is, of course, most well-known in our time for his political and social caricatures, and his exacting and precise observations of nineteenth-century France. This long-awaited new study, however, examines his entire oeuvre, bringing together paintings, sculptures, watercolours, drawings and lithographs, which were highly regarded in his day. Daumier’s art, praised by Van Gogh and Picasso, continues to be much valued by today’s artists, including Paula Rego and Peter Doig.
The present volume is lavishly illustrated and covers the entirety of Daumier’s career – including his renowned lithographs. But it also highlights the paintings and innovative drawings that reflect a more intimate side of his artistic production. These lesser-known works reveal an ambitious range of themes, from Cervantes’s Don Quixote to social commentary painting of Paris’s streets, and confirm Daumier’s unique place in nineteenth-century French art.
John Berger is an art critic, novelist, painter and poet. He has written many books on art and sociology.