One of my all time favourite artists is Honoré Daumier (1808-1879, if you don’t know him look him up straight away!) While he’s most famous for his lithographic illustrations, I’ve always felt that his paintings and sculptures severely underrated, as his loose, expressive mark-making is really ahead of it’s time – most other contemporary painters, such as Ingres, still took a very literal, delicate-but-static approach.
Anyway, at the Beaux-Arts museum in Lyon there’s a collection of thirty-six little busts sculpted by Daumier, which are wonderful and hilarious. Each is drawn from a contemporary figure, with a satirical title. I drew some of them this weekend, here they are:
Le Triste jusqu’à la Mort – Sad Until Death.
Le Dédaigneux – The Disdainful Man
Le Hargneux – The Belligerent Man (or “fractious”, as my dictionary tells me)
Le Niais – The FoolLe Spirituel et Malin – Witty and Clever
Le Stupide – The Stupid Man
L‘indécis – The Indecisive
L’Obsequieux – The Obsequious Man (which means the fawning. I had to look it up too.)
L’Orateur – The Orator
So those are the Daumiers! As I say, there are thirty-six in total, so if I have time it’d be nice to sit down and draw all of them. I’m not sure when I’ll manage though. If you do have the chance, go and see them in the Lyon Musée de Beaux Arts (I have vague memories of there being a collection of Daumier busts in either the Louvre or the Musée d’Orsay, but I’m not sure). And if you don’t know Daumier’s work already, look him up!