Daumier, The Celebrities of the Juste Milieu

ARCHIVE
2005

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sculpture
Honoré DaumierCharles Philipon (undergoing restoration)© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
Between 1832 and 1835, as a result of a commission from Charles Philipon (1800-1862) - founder of the anti-July Monarchy satirical newspapers, La Caricature and Charivari - Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) modelled a series of caricature busts in unbaked clay which he coloured with oil paint. Daumier made the sculptures to serve as models for his own lithographs to be published in Philipon's newspapers.


The series came to be known as The Celebrities of the Juste Milieu rather than the "Parliamentarians" because only twenty-six of the represented characters actually held a parliamentary mandate.

Daumier's sometimes cruel but invariably amusing portraits exceed mere caricature and, as well as MPs and peers, his gallery includes relatives and close friends, even Philipon himself. Thirty-six of the original forty or so busts survive today; all are housed in the Musée d'Orsay.

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