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H. Daumier (Honoré Daumier)

Capitalizing on the late nineteenth-century vogue for celebrity portraiture, this popular Parisian journal was published in weekly installments. Although each issue included biographical essays, the exquisite woodburytype (or photoglyptie) portraits of contemporary figures from literature, music, science, politics, and the arts by the greatest photographers of the day provided its primary draw.

This sensitive portrait of the satirist Daumier was derived from an earlier negative by Nadar (possibly from 1856–58). Daumier had spoofed the soaring popularity of the young photographic medium and Nadar’s daring aerial shots of Paris in an 1862 cartoon titled Nadar Elevating Photography to the Height of Art (Eskenazi Museum of Art 76.30.2). Interestingly, Contemporary Gallery championed the superiority of photography over drawn portraiture because of its brutal, implacable, and eminently scientific neutrality.

Nadar
French, 1820–1910
H. Daumier (Honoré Daumier) from Contemporary Gallery of Writers and Artists (Galerie contemporaine, littéraire, artistique) [(second series: Painters and Sculptors (Peintres et Sculpteurs)]
ca. 1856–58 (published ca. 1880)
Woodburytype (with engraved border and letterpress)
Image/sheet: 4 3/4 x 3 5/16 in. (12.1 x 8.4 cm); mount: 13 11/16 x 10 3/8 in. (34.8 x 26.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art 76.128.2