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Rue Transnonain, April 15, 1834

Lithography—a reproductive process discovered in 1798—allowed an artist to print many copies of a single image and distribute them to a much wider audience. The political potency of this new medium was quickly understood by artists like Honoré Daumier, who produced thousands of images for popular periodicals committed to republican reform in France. This shocking scene records the murder of an innocent family by soldiers in the aftermath of a labor demonstration. Sensational in all of its grim details, the print implicitly criticizes the brutal repressiveness of King Louis Philippe I’s corrupt regime. Government censors, too, recognized its inflammatory nature and quickly seized the lithographic stone and what they could find of the edition, and suppressed subsequent political commentary.

Honoré Daumier
French, 1808–1879
Rue Transnonain, April 15, 1834
Published in L’Association Mensuelle, August–September 1834
Lithograph on paper
Image: 11 3/8 x 17 ½ in. (28.9 x 44.5 cm); sheet: 13 7/8 x 19 ¾ in. (35.2 x 50.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 73.4.1