Friday, February 26, 2010

Arty Farty Friday ~ Honoré Daumier

It might seem irrelevant, in 2010, to feature a 19th century caricaturist/satirist. What could satire of 19th century France have to offer to 21st century mortals? In the hands of Honoré Daumier it offers us a chance to see that nothing much has changed - fashions and technology - yes, they have changed, of course. Attitudes, politics - no change there! Daumier's cartoons satirised the corrupt regime, the injustice of the law courts, and the hypocrisy and greed at the heart of things. (Left: His lithograph titled (as translated)"Ungrateful country, you shall not have my work".

Today is the anniversary of Daumier's birthday. Born 26 February 1808 in Marseille, France; at age 8 moved to Paris with his parents. His father was a glazier, and didn't support his son's intense desire to become an artist, so young Daumier had to go to work in a bailiff's office. He later was able to study at the Académie Suisse and worked for a lithographer, which experience set him on the road to success. He quite obviously, as well as inborn artistic ability, had a natural flair for acute observation, a love of ordinary folk, a gift for seeing the comedic side of everyday life, hatred of political injustices - and war. It is considered that Daumier did as much as any artist of his time to raise the political and social awareness of the citizens of France.
"Throughout his forty-year career, Daumier created nearly 4,000 lithographs, first for the political journal La Caricature and later for the daily Parisian periodical Le Charivari. His early political images addressed the inequality and corruption of King Louis-Philippe’s July Monarchy. One drawing landed Daumier in jail for several months, indicative of the government’s repression of political caricature during much of his lifetime. After strict censorship laws were passed in September 1835, the artist shifted from political attack to social satire. His victims were the members of the French middle class, of which he was one. His images poked fun at pompous politicians, pretentious lawyers, picturesque individuals at the community baths, artists and writers in the throes of creativity, as well as urban development and the trials of commuting—all things that vex us to this day!" (Link.)

As well as the lithographs for which he is best-known Daumier painted around 200 canvases in oil, many depicting everyday life in France, as well as watercolors and small sculptures, all of which comprise, it is said, the largest visual legacy of any artist before 1900.

Dumier died blind and in poverty. though the people of France enjoyed his caricatures, the elite of the artworld didn't recognise his talent until decades after his death.

Now, here's someone even more Piscean than Elizabeth Barrett Browning (mentioned in my post last Saturday). Daumier had Pisces Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars and Pluto (birth time 3pm according to Astrotheme, but Moon in Pisces whatever time he was born). Jupiter in Aquarius and Venus in Capricorn. Daumier had more Pisces input, but I'd say he was considerably more stable than Ms Browning the poet. Personal planets and ascendant in Fixed signs, Aquarius, Leo and Scorpio, with Venus in common-sense Capricorn provided valuable balance to an overload of dreamy, artsy Pisces.

Saturn in Scorpio trines Mercury in Pisces and sextiles Venus in Capricorn. Venus semi-sextiles Jupiter in Aquarius and Jupiter semi-sextiles Mercury in Pisces - which means that a planetary loop linked an acutely perceptive Scorpio Saturn to communicative and humanitarian Pisces Mercury, arty but practical Capricorn Venus, and expansive, jocular Jupiter in mentally active, socially aware Aquarius.

Some examples of his work from Google Image:


GARGANTUA - This one, a depiction of King Louis-Philippe, led to a prison sentence for Daumier.







COMET (again!)



"Tiens peuple, tiens bon peuple, en veux-tu en voilà ! " (I think this means something like "Hang on good people - is this what you want? Here you are!")


Wisewebwoman said...

Oh you do some digging to get us these interesting farties (or in the case of Daumier, 'fartieres') on Friday.
Cartooning hasn't changed much at all, really.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ LOL - "fartieres" - love it!

I'm finding more and more lefty faithfuls - not consciously looking for them, just finding them "under my nose".

Maybe I sould re-name this blog
"Turn Left on the Ecliptic" ;-)

Ron Southern said...

I don't remember which works were his, but I have an old book somewhere of "erotica" by known artists, among them Honoré Daumier. He probably had sketches in that cartoon style except private parts and soldiers' bottoms were visible. I thought it was funny to see some of the art that the world and Art History like to pretend didn't happen, doesn't exist. Yeah, bullshit!

Twilight said...

Ron Southern ~~ Hmmm - I didn't come across anything erotic in my research on Daumier's work, but I can imagine he might have dabbled in that.

Nearest thing I found was this

Still political though. ;-)

A couple of weeks ago I had started posting on an artist known as Balthus, then decided his subjects were too "odd" for a family blog - too fond of young females in suggestive poses....etc. He explained it all away as "art" - as they do.

Ron Southern said...

Balthus was in that erotiic art book, too. Probably not a good choice if you think you're a family blog. I don't think I'd qualify, either, though.

Twilight said...

Ron ~~ Sometimes you would - sometimes not. :-) I'll go so far with stuff like that, but if it makes me feel queasy and uneasy myself (and I'm not strait-laced) I won't use it.