Honoré Daumier

French (1808 - 1879)
Honoré Daumier The Serenade About 1858

Biography

Born 1808
Died 1879
Nationality French

Daumier was a gifted graphic artist, sculptor and painter, best known for his biting satire. Born in Marseille, he moved to Paris with his father at the age of eight and later studied drawing with Alexandre Lenoir and at the Académie Suisse. After the 1830 Revolution, he produced illustrations for left-wing publications, earning him a reputation as a caricaturist and subversive political commentator. From 1835, following the government’s censure of political journals, Daumier turned to lithographs of contemporary scenes from everyday life. He dedicated himself to painting from about 1847 onwards, producing over 300 oils, numerous watercolours, and addressing many themes previously treated in his lithographs, as well as scenes from everyday life, mythology and literature. His painted work remained largely unknown until after his death.

Glossary terms

  • A printmaking technique using a stone or zinc plate to which the image is applied with a greasy material. After wetting the plate, greasy ink is applied. The ink sticks only to the drawn image and not the wet surface, thus creating a reproduction when applied to paper.