"Caricatura Robert Macaire Negociant" is a lithograph by Honore Daumier. It was published February 24, 1837.
Robert Macaire, Négociant.
Hé bien ! Monsieur Macaire, vous reprenez donc vos opérations ? – Oui j’ai mon concordat. Parbleu ! mes créanciers ne se plaindront pas, je leur abandonne: En traites sur la maison Bertrand Wormspire et Cie……. un million. En une créance sur le gouvernement des iles Sandwich….. un million. en bons d’Espagne………………. un million. La dot de ma femme en actions sur le papier, les tiges de bottes, les parapluies, les cuisines roulantes et autres banques industrielles……. un million. Total, quatre millions et je n’en dois que trois ! On ne dira pas que je fais perdre un sou !….. – Mais ces créances me semblent difficiles à recouvrer. Croyez-vous qu’on les fera rentrer ? – Ah pour cela, ça ne me regarde pas, écoutez donc ! C’est l’affaire de mes créanciers et je ne me mêle pas des affaires des autres.
Robert Macaire, merchant.
- Well, Mr. Macaire, you're starting up business again?
- Yes, I have my bankruptcy certificate. By heavens, my creditors won't complain, I'm giving up to them: drafts drawn upon the firm Bertrand, Wormspire and Co.... A million; letter of credit drawn on the government of the Sandwich Islands... A million; Spanish bonds... A million; my wife's dowry, in shares in bootlaces, umbrellas, ambulant kitchens and other commercial banks... a million. Total, four million and I only owe three. Nobody can accuse me of losing a sou!...
- But it seems very difficult to recover your shares. Do you believe that they'll be able to cash them in?
- Ah! That's absolutely nothing to do with me, I assure you. It's my creditors' affair and I don't interfere in other people's affairs.
Artwork Size: 14 1/4" x 9 1/2"
Frame Size: 20 1/2" x 17 3/4"
Daumier was a prolific draftsman who produced over 4000 lithographs, he was perhaps best known for his caricatures of political figures and satires on the behavior of his countrymen, although posthumously the value of his painting has also been recognized. His works offer a commentary on social and political life in France in the 19th century.
French caricaturist and painter, born at Marseilles. He showed in his earliest youth an irresistible inclination towards the artistic profession, which his father vainly tried to check by placing him first with a huissier, and subsequently with a bookseller. Having mastered the technique of lithography, Daumier started his artistic career by producing plates for music publishers, and illustrations for advertisements; these were followed by anonymous work for publishers, in which he followed the style of Charlet and displayed considerable enthusiasm for the Napoleonic legend. When, in the reign of Louis-Philippe, Philipon launched the comic journal, La Caricature, Daumier joined its staff, which included such powerful artists as Devéria, Raffet and Grandville, and started upon his pictorial campaign of scathing satire upon the foibles of the bourgeoisie, the corruption of the law and the incompetence of a blundering government. His caricature of the king as "Gargantua" led to Daumier's imprisonment for six months at Ste. Pélagie in 1832. The publication of La Caricature was discontinued soon after, but Philipon provided a new field for Daumier's activity when he founded the Charivari. For this journal Daumier produced his famous social caricatures, in which bourgeois society is held up to ridicule in the figure of Robert Macaire, the hero of a then popular melodrama. Another series, "L'Histoire Ancienne", was directed against the pseudoclassicism which held the art of the period in fetters. In 1848 Daumier embarked again on his political campaign, still in the service of Charivari, which he left in 1860 and rejoined in 1864. In spite of his prodigious activity in the field of caricature -- the list of Daumier's lithographed plates compiled in 1904 numbers no fewer than 3958 -- he found time for flight in the higher sphere of painting. Except for the searching truthfulness of his vision and the powerful directness of his brushwork, it would be difficult to recognize the creator of Robert Macaire, of Les Bas bleus, Les Bohémiens de Paris, and the Masques, in the paintings of "Christ and His Apostles" at the Ryks Museum in Amsterdam, or in his "Good Samaritan", "Don Quixote and Sancho Panza", "Christ Mocked", or even in the sketches in the Ionides Collection at South Kensington. But as a painter, Daumier, one of the pioneers of naturalism, was before his time, and did not meet with success until in 1878, a year before his death, when Durand-Ruel collected his works for exhibition at his galleries and demonstrated the full range of the genius of the man who has been well called the Michelangelo of caricature. At the time of this exhibition Daumier, totally blind, was living in a cottage at Valmondois, which was placed at his disposal by Corot, and where he breathed his last in 1879. An important exhibition of his works was held at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1900.