Honore Daumier (1808-1879): Visions of Paris


French artist Honore Daumier was a prolific chronicler of everyday life during the turbulent days of 19th century Paris. An exhibition taking place at the Royal Academy of Arts in London this autumn/winter will showcase every facet of Daumier’s output, concentrating on his paintings, drawings and watercolours, supported by a selection of complementary lithographs.

The exhibition, featuring 130 works, will broadly follow the chronological span of the artist’s lifetime, which saw extensive political and social change in France together with the development of the Romantic and Realist movements. Works include disturbing images of fugitives from the cholera epidemics, and images of the laundresses and street entertainers living in his neighbourhood.

Daumier produced more than 500 paintings, 4,000 lithographs, 1,000 wood engravings, 1,000 drawings and 100 sculptures. His work led Baudelaire to describe him as the artist with the capacity to capture “the heroism of modern life”. His finely tuned visual memory allowed him to recall his perceptive observations of daily life.

This exhibition explores themes that bring out the meaning and originality of Daumier’s work such as judgement, spectatorship and reverie, and will address the contrast between the role of the spectator viewing art, and the isolation of the artist in the studio alone with a blank canvas.

Honore Daumier (1808-1879): Visions of Paris is in the Royal Academy of Arts’ Sackler Wing of Galleries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London from October 26, 2013 until January 26, 2014.