There are coffee table books, there are research books difficult to digest for mortals without a PhD in art history, and there are those few and rare highly informative and well researched books on Daumier which offer in-depth information and non repetitive, or little known background research with just a few pictures.
Recently, a new book appeared on the market by Michel Melot, Art historian and former director at the Bibliothèque publique d’information at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, who still holds numerous important positions in French cultural life. The book’s title is:
DAUMIER, L’Art et la République, ISBN 978-2-251-44339-3, published by Les Belles Lettres/Archimbaud, Paris 2008
It guides the Daumier amateur through new aspects of the rather unsuccessful 1878 Drouot exhibition, provocatively calling the first section of his book ‘Comment Daumier devint un inconnu’, a question certainly worth researching. The second section describes Daumier’s career from the early beginning up to his time at the ‘Boulevard’, again a fascinating and in many aspects new research. The third and final section deals with Daumier’s life as a celebrity, especially the period after his death and his acceptance beyond the borders of France.
To read such a fresh and in-depth publication about Daumier and his oeuvre is unusual and we would like to highly recommended it to all Daumier friends, be they collectors, Museum curators or University teachers. In this moment there exists only one caveat: you need to be able to read French. An English or German translation in this moment is unfortunately not yet available.