(France 26 Feb 1808 – 10 Feb 1879)
32.8 x 25.9 cm
The unmistakable message conveyed by this lithograph has an autobiographical basis. Prior to its publication Daumier spent six months in prison for his Rabelaisian caricature of King Louis-Philippe, a bumbling reactionary whose threats to republicanism and free speech the artist detested. Daumier's incorruptible worker, in many respects his Statue of Liberty and something of a self-portrait, stands squarely on the bedrock of freedom. With clenched fists and defensive stance, he is ready for the good fight, which Daumier indicates he will win. The enemy, after all, is shown as a pitiful frieze of Establishment figures up to their shoddy tricks. These shenanigans Daumier mercilessly pilloried for much of his career in satirical journals such as 'Caricature' and 'Le Charivari', often at risk to his safety. The authority of this print, told in every stroke of the lithographer's instrument, is technical as much as intellectual. Daumier was an admired painter and sculptor as well as a master printmaker. He spent his final years, blind and impecunious, in a cottage granted to him by Corot.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999.
Nicholas Draffin, Citizen Artist - Daumier and his time, Sydney, 1991, cover (illus.), 6.
Renée Free, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 130 (colour illus.).
Bruce James, Portrait of a gallery, 'Western Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 78-92, Sydney, 1984, 82 (illus.).
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 78-92, Sydney, 1999, 82 (illus.).
Citizen Artist - Daumier and his time, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 02 Nov 1990–27 Jan 1991