Honoré Daumier - Matrimony and Grief (part 3)

Honoré Daumier began a relationship in 1839 with a seventeen year old seamstress named Alexandrine Dassy. He affectionately called her “Didine”. Some sources give her full name as Marie-Alexandrine Dassy; others cite her real name as Léopoldine. In 1846 they had a son, but sadly the son died at age two. A caricature of Didine can be seen in this cartoon titled “- Bien, ma Didine, avons-nous assez dansé ?.. - Oh! ne m'en parle pas, les jambes me rentrent dans le corps. - Alors ôte tes bas et couche-toi. - Ma foi non, je suis trop lasse!” (Eh! Well, my Didine, have we danced enough?.. -Oh! do not remind me, my legs are completely worn out. -Then take your stockings off and go to bed - My goodness no, I am too tired!) and published in Le Charivari in 1842. This lithograph titled, “C'est embêtant! ça vous passe devant ...le nez...et on s'en va en chantant... 'Hélas! elle a fui comme une ombre!...'” (It's annoying! She passes right in front of ...your nose... and you sing without even looking at you... "Alas! she disappears like a shadow!...") also features Didine from the back.

Keeping Bread On The Table One Caricature At A Time

“L'Odorat” part of the  Types Parisiens  series by Honoré Daumier published in 1839. PD Source: Wikimedia Commons/Brooklyn Museum

“L'Odorat” part of the Types Parisiens series by Honoré Daumier published in 1839. PD Source: Wikimedia Commons/Brooklyn Museum

The following are links to other Honoré Daumier prints that comment on general French culture and were published after 1840. His catalog of illustrations is so large it is helpful to narrow the focus in some way. These lithographs were specifically mentioned as some of his most important and popular works by authors of books about Daumier and his works published in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The list will be interspersed with some commentary.

1839 - Les Baigneurs (alt) (The Bathers or The Swimmers) is a series of thirty lithographs  published in Le Charivari between 1839 and 1842. They featured Parisians in comic situations while in various stages of undress involved in bathing, swimming and other scenes near and on the water.

1840 Les Bohémiens de Paris  (Artists and bon vivants of Paris) was published in Le Charivari in between 1840 and 1841 and includes 28 items. In this series, Daumier takes liberties with the get-rich-quick activities and alternative lifestyles of the French bohémiens

1840 - Types Parisiens (Parisian Types) is a series of  50 plates published in Le Charivari between 1840 and 1843. “L'Odorat” is an image in this series of particular interest to biographer Elisabeth Luther Cary.

1841 Histoire ancienne (alt1) (alt2(The Ancient History or Stories from Antiquity) was a series of 50 lithographs published between 1841 and 1843 in Le Charivari, Atherton Curtis applauds Histoire ancienne for it's comic qualities and bringing Greek and Roman Mythology into the homes of 19th Century Parisians. 

1843 - Les beaux jours de la Vie (The best days in life) was a series published in Le Charivari between 1843 and 1846 included about 100 plates dealing with the burgeoning travel and tourism industries.

1843 - Voyage en Chine (alt) is a series of  32 lithographs published in Le Charivari between 1843 and 1845 that cast Chinese people having similar foibles as the French. 

1843 - Les Canotiers parisiens (alt) (The Parisian oarsmen) is a series of 20 plates published in Le Charivari in 1843. 

1843 - Croquis pris au theatre (alt) Theater Sketches) is a series of 10 lithographs published in Le Charivari between 1864 and 1865. 

1844 - Three series (browse all three); Les Bas Bleus (The Lower Blue), Les Divorceuses (The Divorcee) and Les Femmes Socialistes (The Socialist Women), published in Le Charivari starting in 1844 included approximately 60 plates that dealt caustically with the subject of feminism. 

1845 - Les Gens de Justice (alt) (The People of Justice) was a series published in Le Charivari between 1845 and 1848 and included 41 lithographs about people involved with the judicial system.

A Studio With A View

 In the 1840's (a wide variety of dates are cited in texts) Daumier moved to Île Saint-Louis on the quay d’Anjou where he rented a studio on the top floor of a house. Île Saint-Louis is a island in the Seine river. He lived in the residence overlooking the rooftops of Paris until about 1850.

République” sketch in oil by   Honoré Daumier created April 1848

“La République” sketch in oil by Honoré Daumier created April 1848

Charles Baudelaire became an admirer of Daumier's work around 1845. This acquaintance blossomed into a friendship. Baudelaire, in his role as an art critic, wrote positively of Daumier's painting while he lived.


The monarchy of Louis-Philippe was overthrown in the February Revolution of 1848. After months of turmoil Louis Napoleon, nephew of Napoleon I, was elected the first President of the Second Republic. This Bonaparte would make himself Emperor after three years.

A Personal Revolution in Oils

With the change in government the State sought a new official image and conducted a competition to choose one. In April 1948 Daumier entered the contest held at the École des Beaux-Arts along with 700 other artists. The “sketch” that Daumier entered is now titled “La République” (alt) and came in eleventh place. He did not complete the work required for the next part of the contest. The image depicts a powerful mother seated on throne, holding a tri-colored flag on a pole, wearing a Phrygian hat, her lower torso draped in white cloth while two muscled children nurse at her breasts as a third strong looking child reads a book at her feet.

In 1848 Daumier was commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior to paint "Sainte-Madeleine". He received the payment, but did not deliver the the finished painting. Fifteen years later he delivered “Marche de Silène” (alt) to satisfy his contract.

Damuier documented events following the fall of the King by producing more political cartoons. One titled Tout est perdu! fors la caisse......” (All is lost - save the cashbox.) shows Louis-Philipp stepping onto the dock in England following his abdication. This was published in Le Charivari on  July 3, 1848. 

It was around this time that his father, Jean-Baptiste Louis Daumier's debilitating melancholy became so severe that he was sent to Charenton asylum where died in 1851 after years of confinement.

More Important Works in Le Charivari 

1852 - Croquis musicaux (Musical Sketches) is a series of seventeen lithographs published in Le Charivari showing musicians and/or singers in a variety of situations. 

1852 - Croquis parisiens (alt) (Parisian sketches) is a series of 120 plates published in Le Charivari, Journal Amusant and Petit Journal pour Rire between 1852 and 1877. 

1852 - Croquis dramatiques (alt) (Dramatic Sketches) is a series of 22 lithographs published in Le Charivari between 1852 and 1864. The series illustrates the life of actors behind the curtain. 

 1853 - Croquis d'été (alt) (Summer Sketches) is a series of 55 plates published in Le Charivari between 1853 and 1865 that featured Parisians in comic situations while in various stages of undress and involved in summer activities.

 1854 - Croquis d'hiver (alt) (Winter sketches) is a series of ten lithographs published in Le Charivari between 1854 and 1858 and Journal Amusant and Petit Journal Pour Rire in 1864.

1855 - L'Exposition Universelle (alt) (The Universal Exhibition) was a series of 41 plates published in Le Charivari in 1885. These prints depicted people attending The World's Fair of 1855 held in Paris. 



1859 L'Exposition de 1859 aka Exposition de 1859 (alt) (The Exhibition of 1859) was a series of lithographs published in Le Charivari. These lithographs deal with artists, art patrons, and the general public interacting with each other among exhibits at the art expositions.

The next post in this series deals with Daumier's struggles to support his family while trying to pursue his goals as a painter.

NEXT - Honoré Daumier Part 4