April 5, 2004

DR 755

We are thrilled to show here again a very rare print, which in this form has rarely ever been seen: DR 755 from the Rosenwald Collection at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. This is the only first state of this print we are aware of, published on December 5, 1839 in the Charivari. It shows the handwriting of BIAIS, the journalist responsible for the text. Biais like Cler worked at the Charivari during this period, supplying the captions to many of Daumier’s lithographs.

On this print, we can easily see the various changes of the caption before the publication with its final text, which reads:


« On ne veut pas croire, il est impossible de croire que ce pauvre pêcheur perché sur un bateau soit le motif de ce rassemblement. A coup sûr, les parisiens cette caste intelligente et active, est clouée là par un évènement grave, une modiste, un paire de france, un Md. de marrons, un candidat à l’Accadémie, victime de l’amour ou de l’ambition!… Eh bien non, c’est réellement un goujon que vous ne voyez pas et qu’ils ne voient pas non plus. »

(The Gapers.

You can hardly believe, it’s impossible to believe that this poor fisherman perched on a boat is the only purpose of this gathering. With a sure instinct, the Parisians, this intelligent and energetic cast, are nailed to the ground by a serious incident, a milliner, a peer of France, a chestnut vendor, a candidate for the Academy, a victim of love or ambition!…. Ah well no, it’s really a gudgeon that you aren’t seeing and that they aren’t seeing either….)