Los Angeles

“The Art of Honoré Daumier”

Pasadena Art Museum

Except for a couple of pieces that the Museum has added to the exhibition, the works shown are from the collection of Robert Q. Lewis. It is not a comprehensive representation of the artist’s performance which included some four thousand lithographs alone, but does give a peculiarly selective insight into the manner in which Daumier worked. Of primary interest are a dozen or so small bronzes, cast after the artist’s death from the wax models he was wont to make prior to his drawings. What is amazing is that there are compounded in these pieces both sculptural and draftsman-like elements, the disciplines of which are thought to be at opposite polarities. But for Daumier the three-dimensional form was a basic means of transforming his composite images of daily life into the direct and singular caricatures of mankind that are revealed in his lithographs. A fine print of Le Ventre Legislatif, the Museum’s lithograph Gena de Justice, an ink and wash drawing, a line drawing, a prepared stone and a small oil are all worth studying. Not to be confused with Daumier’s work, but interesting in themselves, are two small clay pieces by the artist’s contemporary, Charles Dautany, and a small oil sketch.

Constance Perkins