Art History doctoral candidate Jennifer S. Pride is curating a spring exhibition of Honoré Daumier prints and related materials at The Art Gallery at Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY. The exhibition, Daumier’s Paris: Caricature and Cultural Trauma in the Age of Haussmann, will be on display from April 20 to May 18, 2016, and includes more than 200 objects from Pride’s personal collection: Honoré Daumier’s caricatures, related nineteenth-century news journals and books, lithographs, and stereocards. Pride collected these materials as part of her research for her doctoral dissertation, Picturing Cultural Trauma in Haussmannized Paris. She has presented her research on Daumier and cultural trauma in more than a dozen national and international conferences and symposia.
From the Art Gallery at Kingsborough Press Release:
The Nineteenth-Century painter, sculptor, caricaturist and printmaker Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) was an astute commentator on Parisian life during that city’s radical transformation by Georges-Eugène Haussmann (1809-1891). Beginning in 1853, this massive urban rebuilding project, now known as Haussmannization, demolished many of the small, unique streets and neighborhoods in Paris, replacing them with wide boulevards lined with unified, cream-colored architecture—features we now associate with the look and style of the French capital. The loss of old Paris, however, was for many a traumatic cultural experience. Curated by Jennifer S. Pride, a scholar of nineteenth-century art at Florida State University, this exhibition reveals how Daumier expressed this shared national trauma through his lithographs, many published in the satirical magazine Le Charivari.
Daumier’s caricatures combine image and text in a comedic way to reveal social anxieties regarding the loss of old Paris, the irony of new problems such as traffic congestion and accidents in the evolving city, and the character and conduct of Haussmann, himself. The artist’s role as social critic during this time of urban upheaval is part of the social discourse that ultimately undermines power relations as Haussmann is dismissed amid controversy in 1870 and Napoleon III is defeated and exiled later that year bringing an end to the Second Empire.
Daumier’s caricatures helped 19th-century Parisians laugh at the foibles of modern life by replacing everyday annoyances and problems with comical scenes. This exhibition reveals how Daumier documents the confusion and anxiety inherent in the ongoing erasure and remarking of the city’s physiognomy and, consequently, social and cultural traditions. Rather than producing overtly critical images, however, Daumier’s satirical caricatures represent the reality of Haussmannization in coded terms. The artist poked fun at modern life with images of Parisians dancing on the newly paved macadam boulevards, navigating the new phenomenon of the crowds, and self-reflecting on their roles in the modern metropolis. Daumier’s Haussmannization caricatures embody and reveal the fragmentation of modern life during the Second Empire.