The nineteenth century Frenchman, Honoré Daumier was a prolific artist, having produced six an a half thousand separate works over the course of his seventy-one years of life. These include paintings, lithographs, drawings, wood engravings, and sculptures. Although born in Marseille, his family uprooted and moved to Paris when he was six, and it was there that he spent most of his life.
Visions of Paris is an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts that will be open until the 26th January. It shows but a mere hundred and-thirty examples of Daumier's work, but who could expect to see thousands in one afternoon? Many of the pictures and sculptures on display have never been seen in the UK before, so it is a good opportunity to see the artist from a fresh perspective, and explore the main theme of his work: satire.
Daumier grew up wanting to be a poet, so was sent to work as an assistant to a bookseller, a lithographer, and later, a comic journal. This is how his career as an artist began. Having learn the skills of lithography, he went on to drawn caricatures for the magazine. These featured depictions of people in power, such as King Louis Philippe as Gargantua, which earned him a period behind bars.
As well as humorous pieces, Daumier also painted solemn scenes of people facing poverty and disease. This wide variety of themes provides a true vision of nineteenth century Paris.
Entry to the exhibit is £11 for adults (with various concessionary discounts), but you can also book additional tickets to events such as a talk by Quentin Blake and a study of satirical images.