Honore Daumier

Alternative Name(s): -
Date of Birth: February 26, 1808
Place of Birth: Marseille, France
Date of Death: February 10, 1879
Focus: Painter, Sculptor, Caricaturist, Lithographer
Art movement: Impressionism, Naturalism, Realism
Nationality: French

Famous Honore Daumier Artwork

Honore Daumier Biography

Honore Daumier’s formal education was curtailed at age 12, when he was made to leave school to take up employment in a bailiff’s office. He was, however, exposed to many aspects of art from an early age, and he actively pursued an artistic career when he was about 20 years-of-age.

Honore Daumier became an all-round artist who undertook painting, sculpting, lithography, cartoons and caricatures during his lifetime. In his caricatures, Daumier used the technique of physical absurdity to expose and mock the politics and social injustices of French Society in the 1800s.

In 1832, his caricatures of King Louis-Philipe offended the king, which led to six months of incarceration for Daumier. Two months were spent in prison, followed by four months in a mental hospital. The king probably wanted to show that anyone who offended him had to be insane.

From 1848 onward, Daumier’s main focus was impressionistic paintings. Arguably, he was the first impressionistic painter. He came to be highly esteemed and admired by Manet and Monet, both of whom his work pre-dated. Nevertheless, he was more highly regarded as a cartoonist more so than as a painter by the general public during his lifetime. His sculptures were also admired for the realism they projected.

The highlight of Daumier’s life occurred in 1878. Nearly blind — and one year before his death — his work was exhibited at the Durand-Ruel Gallery. This led to greater appreciation of his work by the art-loving public. By then, however, Daumier was dead.