Perhaps you have already asked yourself whether you have made the right decision when buying a print. Below you will find some important points that a long time art dealer and also we have compiled in retrospect of some thirty years of collecting Daumier lithographs. We have certainly not answered all your questions. If you need further information, please contact us by e-mail and we will be happy to advise you.
Posthumous impressions are (and should be) a good deal cheaper. Similarly, you can also buy original Dürers, DAUMIERS, Altdorfers, Ostades, Castigliones, Bouchers, Goyas, Ruysdaels, Fragonards, Manets, Whistlers, Gericaults, Picassos and Pissarros among a host of others, something that would range from horrendously expensive to plainly impossible in paintings.
Original prints and drawings can be bought from a number of different sources: dealers and galleries, auction houses, antique dealers, decorators, estates, flea markets, the Internet and so on. Assuming one has a developing interest, however, the problem is not only where to buy, but what and how. Following is a group of questions that some people have asked us but many more have asked themselves. They are, in any event, questions one should ask.” (Reprinted with kind permission from “How to Buy Drawings and Prints” from C. & J. Goodfriend, Drawings and Prints. ©James Goodfriend 1996.)
With the development of the Internet new sources of supply have opened up. It is now possible to buy Daumiers from another collector quite inexpensively without going through the established channels of trade. As a rule of thumb you can be sure that a Daumier print from the CHARIVARI with the text au verso will always be an “original”, and not a reprint. The situation is quite different for the far more expensive Daumier prints on white paper (without text au verso) offered in internet auctions. A great number of those prints are being posted as “originals”, although they have been printed only recently. In such cases it is usually advisable BEFORE BIDDING to look into our site depicting “Daumier Imitations” or even ask us for a quick and inexpensive expertise.
There are very few fixed rules, but one might be that the best tends to do best.” (Goodfriend)
The other way to be informed is to check out the Internet and feel your way around discussion groups covering prints in general. If possible, you should purchase a work catalogue of the master. In the case of Daumier this has been quite an expense, because of the number of prints (4’000) which had to be photographed. Presently, the original catalogue of Daumier’s lithographs by L. Delteil will costs 2’000-4’000 $ depending on its condition. A reprint from the 1960s will also be around 1’000-1’500$.
But you have now the possibility to access the DAUMIER REGISTER ©, the new digital work catalogue on the Internet with FREE ACCESS. So far, it covers all 4000 lithographs, all 1000 wood engravings and all the oil paintings; the sculptures and drawings will follow to present a complete work catalogue on Daumier’s oeuvre. Go directly to DAUMIER REGISTER ©. (This link will take you directly to: The DAUMIER REGISTER ©.) The access is free. No registration or login required!
Before that, the edition was limited naturally by the deterioration of the matrix from which it was printed, so the first and last impressions off the plate look very different indeed. A more useful question about earlier prints might be, “How many of them are still around?”, but you shouldn’t be terribly surprised if you can’t always get an answer to that question either. The really important question to ask about earlier prints (and many nineteenth-century ones too) is “How good is the quality?” (Goodfriend)
In the case of Daumier the questions is also not so easy to answer. For details please have a look at the GLOSSARY section of this website.
whereas a large damage generally is not.” (Goodfriend)
In the case of Daumier prints from the newspaper CHARIVARI as well as sur blanc, you will often find serious foxing problems. We feel that foxing is a problem one has to live with, just like with aging in general. There are however specialists who can treat foxing with a chemical solution and make the stains disappear. The prints do come out very clean and white. You will need to consider the price for the treatment in relation to the value of the print, as well as the esthetic aspects.
In the case of Daumier you will have a vast choice ahead of you. If you enjoy caricature you can chose between 4’000 lithographs touching all aspects of life. It will be a difficult decision since the choice is so immense. Our advice: Follow your feeling and if a print touches you or makes you smile, you are on the right track.
(Partial reprint from “How to Buy Drawings and Prints” with kind permission of C. & J. Goodfriend, Drawings and Prints, New York. ©James Goodfriend 1996.)