Art Of The Day
On this day in 1845, this cartoon by Honoré Daumier was published in the satirical journal La Charivari.
Here we see the interior of a courtroom. At the left of the image, a robed lawyer gesticulates forcefully towards the snoozing judicial officials seated on the right half of the image. According to the inscription below this image, the speaker passionately declares (as translated from the French):
"Yes, they want to deprive this orphan, whom I do not qualify as young, as he is fifty-seven years old, but no less an orphan...believe me, gentlemen, Justice always sees the guilty."
No stranger to courtrooms, Daumier was brought to trial for a less-than-kind caricature of King Louis-Phillippe. As a result of his sharp pen, the 23-year-old artist was fined and condemned to six months in prison. The very same day the young artist received this sentence, he was tried for a separate offensive image, this composition lampooning the heir to the throne and Marshal Soult. While acquitted of the second infraction, Daumier did spend half a year behind bars.
Upon his release, Daumier was drawn back to the courtroom as a spectator. Humorous depictions of lawyers and judicial proceedings became a favorite genre for the satirist, as evidenced by this image.
Colta Feller Ives, Margret Stuffmann, Martin Sonnabend. Daumier Drawings. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993), 174.
...Oui, on veut dépouiller cet orphelin, que je ne qualifie pas... (...Yes, they want to rob this orphan, who I do not consider...), Plate 11 from the series Les Gens de Justice, published August 15, 1845 in Le Charivari, Aug. 15, 1845
Lithograph on newspaper, 7 1/4 x 10 1/8 in. (18.42 x 25.72 cm)
Gift of Owen and Leone Elliott, 1967.216