Signatures & Letters

Introduction to Daumier’s signatures

When looking at 4’000 prints by Daumier it is interesting to observe the many different signatures he applied to mark his lithographic stones. Unlike artists like Van Gogh or Picasso, Daumier varied his signatures, and even his monograms in many different ways.

We have endeavored to supply a few samples of Daumier’s monograms and signatures. Considering the astonishing quantity of 4’000 lithographs, 1’000 wood engravings, almost 2’000 drawings and watercolors, 500 paintings, it was simply not possible to show more than a small part of all of his signatures.

We therefore refrained from overloading this section, and simply gave a few typical examples from different time periods. In case you are about to purchase an important print, drawing, or painting, you should in any case consult an expert. We will be happy to give you advice if needed.

An interesting fact to remember: during the beginning of his working period, Daumier was also signing a few prints with the alias name Rogelin. For more details please consult the Daumier Register.

We are also showing in this section a few letters written by Daumier. Unfortunately, letters from Daumier are very rare. Unlike Van Gogh, he was not a passionate letter writer, but we hope to be able to collect some more information about Daumier’s letters.

Letters by Honoré Daumier

A letter by Daumier to an unnamed correspondent, addressed to “M” (for Monsieur). It is undated and unsigned.

He is politely and at length saying no, but promising to try to comply with his correspondent’s request at a future time (‘que je ne peux pas determiner’ “still do be determined”).

A letter by Daumier signed “h Daumier”, dated “17 Mercredi”, published in the book by Frantz, H. and Uzanne, O. “Daumier and Gavarni”, 1904.

This letter was written by Daumier during his stay at Ste. Pélagie Prison on October 9, 1832. The original French text of this letter exhibited at the Ingelheim Exhibition in April 1971 reads as follows:

Mon cher Genron, je suis forcé à t’ècrire ne pouvant aller te voir, car je suis retenu à Ste. Pèlagie par une légère indisposition…
j’attends ta réponse avec impatience. Répond-moi tot de suite au sujet de Cabat ou de Huet.

Mes respects à ta famille
Adieu la Gouape
h.-D.

elle est toujours dans tous ses Charmes ( la République) ne me parle pas de politique parce que les lettres sont décachetées

Letter from H. Daumier, dated June 13 (no year) to an unknown person about his two paintings “Les Lutteurs” and “Don Quichotte”. (©Musée Mariemont, Belgium)

Mon cher Monsieur Martinet.

Ayez la bonté remettre les deux tableaux Les Lutteurs et le Don Quichotte é la personne qui vous remettera ce mot.

Votre tout dévoué
h. Daumier
Vendredi 13 juin

This handwritten letter, now at the Belgian Musée Mariemont, is referring to the painting DR7189 “Les lutteurs” as well as to a Don Quixote painting which was sent on instructions by Daumier to the same, up to now unidentified, address. We researched the various possibilities to identify the paintings, and we come to the conclusion that these paintings were DR7189 (“Les lutteurs”), and either DR7033 (“Don Quichotte et Sancho Pansa se rendant aux noces de Gamaches”) or DR7171 (“Don Quichotte et Sancho Pansa”). All three of them were at Daumier’s time in the property of Charles or Paul Aubry. The letter is an interesting time document.

Mon cher Monsieur Walbier, Feuchère est mort ce matin a une heure. venez si vous pouvez

h.Daumier

Letter from H.Daumier to Emile Walbier, about the death of his friend, artist Jean-Jacques Feuchère, July 25, 1852. Pen and brown ink on ivory wove paper. Property of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mon cher Rousseau

pouvons nous aller passer quelques jours avec vous? Si cela est possible ne nous repondez pas; nous partirons Samedi soir ou Dimanche. dans le cas ou cela vous generait ayez la bonté de nous le dire.
une bonne poignée de main en attendant le plaisir de vous voir

h Daumier.

Undated letter from H. Daumier to Théodore ROUSSEAU, artist, painter in Barbizon proposing to spend a few days at Rousseau’s place.

TRANSLATION:
May we spend a few days with you? If this is possible for you don’t reply; we will leave Saturday evening or Sunday. In case it should not be possible kindly let us know. I shake your hand and look forward to seeing you.
h.Daumier.

29 Xbre 69 (crossed out)
30 Janvier 70

Monsieur.

Me voici rentré à Paris dont j’ai été absent tout l’été.

Je suis maintenant Monsieur tout a votre disposition: quand j’aurai l’honneur de vous voir, je vous dirai lau cause de l’impardonnable retard de ma réponse a votre lettre du mois de Juin!
en attendant, excusez moi Monsieur et agréez l’expression de mes sentiments distingués

h.Daumier
J’ai a votre disposition un portrait lithographié et une photographie

Handwritten letter by Honoré Daumier. Reproduction courtesy of Norton Simon Art Foundation. Pasadena, CA (USA).

Samedi, 2 10bre 76

Cher Monsieur Montrosier
Je serai chez moi demain toute la journée
Je vous serre bien la main en attandans le plaisir de vous voir
Tout à vous

h.Daumier

Letter from Honoré Daumier to Monsieur Montrosier whom he invites to visit him the following day. 20.9 x 13.5 cm, full signature “h.Daumier”.

Photograph from Kornfeld auction catalogue, June 6, 2008

Letter (Private collection) by Daumier to Bocage asking for entry tickets for 3 persons plus 2 children, an old debt which he tries to pay back with the help of the addressee.

Mon cher Donateur,

Je viens tardivement vous demander entrée chez vous ce soir pour 3 personnes plus 2 enfans c’est une vieille dette qu’avec votre aide je pourrai acquitter
a Vous tout
h. Daumier
…avril 1850

upper right side remarks by the receiver: 1 loge … treize. Six cent soixante quatrième

(I am asking you a bit late for entry of three persons and two children tonight. It is an old debt of mine which I can pay back with your help).

The actor Pierre-Matrinien Tousez, named Bocage, was director of the theater from 1845 to 1848 (the letter dates from 1850). Reproduction of this letter and information courtesy of Sabine Koitka, Buchkunst + Hommagerie, Basel, Switzerland.

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