Saturday, November 24, 2012

Daumier's Cartoons on Art

Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) did a lot of cartoons satirizing art and artists. The humor is remarkably enduring, because some things don't change. 

"They refused this....ignoramuses!"

"Come on... don't be such a bourgeois.... at least have a look at this Courbet!"

 Influential Critic's Promenade

"This year, Venuses....again."

The Amateurs (visitors to an artist's studio)

"Well, if you look very closely, you might end up finding some quality. The color seems to be good."


Christian Schlierkamp said...

Interesting that you mention Daumier:
Claude Keisch just helped curating an exhibition featuring works of Daumier, Goya and Touluse-Lautrec in Berlin:

Kessie said...

HA HA! You're right, some things never change. Change the clothes and you have all the critics and patrons of modern day.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand most of these, can somebody explain?

Anonymous said...

Great stuff! LOL!

Have you seen the Magic Unhinged card: Fascist Art Director

- mp

Erik Bongers said...

Anonymous, in the late 19th century, every year or so, a prestigious art exhibition was organized in Paris.
Out of a large number of candidate artists, only a selection was admitted. This selection was done by a conservative committee of art-critics. Eventually this event was more about social status and prestige that about art.
And that's what Honoré Damier was mocking in his cartoons.

Th "Salon" lost it's importance with the advent of modernism.

Erik Bongers said...

Two additional comments, in order to understand some of these cartoons.

The refused artists created an alternative Salon, called "Salon des Refusés".

In those Victorian days, there were double moral standards, which were also reflected in art.
Nudity was forbidden, but a painting of a nude goddess (e.g. Venus) was allowed. After all, Venus was not a woman but a deity.
As a result, the walls of the Salon where stacked up to the ceiling with Venuses.

James Gurney said...

Erik, thanks for explaining. Context is everything. The guy with the painting in the first cartoon is mad because the judges rejected his beloved piece.

It's pretty hard for us to appreciate how important the Salon exhibitions and judging must have been for people of Daumier's time. It was on the scale of the Academy Awards for movies. So cartoons like these would have been appreciated by everyone in France.

David Teter said...

LOL.. love these, and I can relate!
Bill Watterson, "Calvin and Hobbs" and Gary Larson "The Far Side" also have done art related cartoons that are hilarious too. Hung in my studio of course, for levity and perspective.

Anonymous said...

Visiting the museum one day I chanced on "Los Caprichos", scathing commentaries on Spain's follies by Francisco Goya.

Two elderly women were looking at "Tampoco". "What a Pity", which features a very bored soldier looking indifferently at a very dead hanged, ragged civilian. A ferocious commentary indeed!

One woman, clearly the knowledgable one, was waxing rhapsodic to her student/companion on the chiaroscuro, the technique, the technical details... and utterly indifferent to the actual image itself.

Anonymous said...

Calvin and Hobbes discussing his paint by numbers activity slays me!

Chantika said...

Reminds me a lot of (Carl) Giles who did a lot of cartoons for the Sunday express in England. Im an avid collector of his annuals and they are worth hunting down if you have the time...really amusing and definitely capture the politics etc of the time :)