Graduate Seminar: Daumier, Caricature, Medium, and Politics
Honoré Daumier (1808-79) produced hundreds of cheap, mass-produced lithographic caricatures for the ephemeral newspaper Charivari, making him one of the consummate (Baudelairian) Modern artists. In addition, Daumier transposed his graphic facility to painting and sculpture. Yet he also used the obdurate materiality of his clay bust sculptures as models for his investigation of exaggerated anatomical features. This seminar will examine the role of different media in the corpus of this prolific artist, focusing on the politics and mechanisms of caricature. Key issues include exaggeration, humor, censorship, irony, ephemerality, reversal, reproduction, lithography (without preparatory drawing), substitution, seriality, repetition, and scale as well as physiognomy and constructions of gender, class, and racial difference.