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Honoré-Victorin Daumier

1808 - 1879

Honoré Daumier was a famous caricaturist and lithographer, who was also active as a painter and sculptor. From 1830 he made his living drawing cartoons for satirical journals, lampooning the government, the professions and the French bourgeoisie. In 1832 he was imprisoned for making a caricature of King Louis-Philippe.

Daumier was born in Marseilles, and followed his father to Paris in 1816. In about 1822 he became a pupil of Alexandre Lenoir, and studied the Old Master paintings in the Louvre in the later 1820s.

During the course of his career Daumier remained in contact with the main painters of the time, including Delacroix, Millet and Corot. Perhaps due to his reputation as a cartoonist, he did not gain public recognition in his lifetime, though he is now considered a great draughtsman and graphic artist. In 1872 he began to go blind and lived in virtual retirement at Valmondois.

While his prints deal with contemporary issues and fashions, Daumier's paintings tend to depict more timeless subjects, often drawn from literary sources.