Daumier (1808-1879): Visions of Paris continues at the RA until 26 January 2014.
Anyone visiting Paris in the next few months and interested in the mainstream of the artist’s work should take the chance to see Les Parisiens de Daumier, sponsored by the Crédit Mutuel de Paris at their gallery in the Marais (details on their website, poster above). There are plenty of examples of his drawings for magazines (Le Charivari in particular) satirising contemporary Parisian life. Some depict a world that is now almost unrecognisable, others seem oddly familiar - La crinoline finnisant par être soupçonnée (below, right) should amuse anyone who has been through a security check in the last ten years. The Head of Louis-Phillipe in the form of a pear (Tête de Louis-Phillipe en forme de poire), 1840 (below, left), from the musée Carnavalet, would have been worth borrowing by the RA as a fine expression of the artist's Republican beliefs.
Some major political events in France in Daumier’s lifetime:
1814 Restoration of the Bourbon monarchy (King Charles X) in place of Napoléon Bonaparte
1830 After a revolution, King Louis-Phillipe installed in place of Charles X
1848 Second Republic declared after the abdication of Louis-Phillipe
1852 Louis-Napoléon (Napoléon III) installed as Emperor after a coup d’état
1870 Third Republic declared after Napoléon’s defeat by the Prussians at Sedan
1871 Siege of Paris and suppression of the Commune