March 10, 2005
Today, we would like to draw your attention to four quite unusual Daumier prints. Most likely you are aware of the rare and beautiful prints, depicting the famous “July-Hero” (DR 23) or the notoriously cynical “White-washers” or “Laundrymen” (DR 39). Very few collectors, including the publishers Hazard or Delteil , realized that there still exist different prints, depicting the identical themes. Provost was the first one to note these rarities.
A reduced and inverted version of four prints – DR 18, 23, 24 and 39 shown below – appeared time wise independently from their larger “doubles” on December 15, 1832 in LE CHARIVARI. They were considerably smaller: the dimensions of these reduced prints were only around 65 x 70 mm. In some cases the text was slightly changed. At first sight, the smaller prints appear to be reduced copies of the larger ones. But in reality, they show distinct differences in many details. These are easily recognizable when comparing the two prints. It seems obvious that Daumier (or another artist ?) had been asked to redraw these four lithographs.
The CHARIVARI explained this repetition on page 2 of the same edition as follows:
“Les meilleures caricatures politiques qui aient paru depuis la révolution de juillet nous fourniront la matière d’une autre planche. Notre but, en résumant ainsi ce que s’est fait, est, nous l’avons dit, de donner à la collection du Charivari l’importance d’un recueil complet, et nous y parviendrons sans fatiguer ceux de nos abonnés pour qui ces résumés ne sont que la répétition de composition qu’ils connaissent déjà.“
It should be noted that these very early prints appeared during the very first month of the existence of the CHARIVARI. They must be considered extremely rare and will be difficult to find on the market. The paper quality of these first prints was by far superior to the later editions and can be compared to the quality used in LA CARICATURE. A noteworthy detail on the side: the Charivari at this period (i.e. in the first weeks of its existence) did not yet show the front-page vignette. An empty space marked its place. The editor announced to the subscribers that they would receive the missing vignettes to be pasted into the provided space as soon as the printer would make them available. Only after three weeks did the head vignette appear for the first time in the CHARIVARI and was subsequently changed several times in the following years. The first vignette done by Daumier has been registered under Bouvy N°1 and appeared on Nov.17,1833 in LE CHARIVARI.