„Daumier et la Caricature“, by Ségolène Le Men, Ed. Citadelles & Mazenod, Oaris, ISBN 978 2 85 088270 8. In French.
Ms. Ségolène Le Men, professor of Art History and eminent Daumier scholar at the Paris X-Nanterre University, published her latest book, “Daumier et la Caricature” in November 2008 – probably the last big contribution to round up the Daumier year celebrations of his 200th birthday.
The book shows an approach to professional reproductive photography of a quality rarely seen in biographies of this kind. Professor Le Men had access to some of the best and unique Daumier lithographs and wood engravings from the collections at the Museum of Saint-Denis as well as the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. The photographs presented in this book are in perfect congruence with a profoundly researched and well-presented text. The book leads the reader through Daumier’s life by walking him through each of the important series which appeared in La Caricature, Le Charivari, Le Boulevard etc. covering the artist’s entire active period of some fifty years of work.
Historical and political parallels are being drawn beyond observations of the purely artistic evaluation of the series presented, making this publication an exceptional source of information. The book also appeared in the right moment when one considers that similar books by Lejeune, Ray, Escholier and others are dating back some 40 years. Le Men’s new book in updated contents as well as in presentation certainly is a most welcome addition to Daumier bibliography and a “must” for all Daumier friends.