Updated: June 13, 2011



These Study Guides on War and Art were originally prepared for a course entitled "Responses to War: An Intellectual and Cultural History" given in the Department of History at The University of Adelaide between 1989 and 1999.

Banner Art


 "The Army Hierarchy"

"After You!"



Daumier on War: 64 Print Reproductions after the Original Lithographs (New York: Da Capo Press, 1977).

Howard P. Vincent, Daumier and His World (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1968). On the Crimea pp. 165-68.

André Rossel, H.Daumier: Ouevres politiques et sociales. Prend Parti (Courtille, 1971).

Daumier, 120 Great Lithographs, ed. Charles F. Remus (New York: Dover, 1978), "Introduction," pp. ix-xx.

Oliver W. Larkin, Daumier: Man of his Time (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968).


Honoré Daumier (1808-79) - Satirist of Prussian Militarism


Honoré-Victorin Daumier (1808-79) painter, sculptor, political cartoonist. Acclaimed as one of preeminent satirists of all time. Born in Marseille but family moved to Paris 1816. No formal education. Learnt at home and in streets of Paris. Observations of street life used in his work. HB worked as office boy for notary (source of information for cartoons and caricatures of legal profession.

Overheads of law firm apprentice and busy lawyer

  • "Le petit clerc called the gutter-jumper. The little law clerk doesn't eat much, runs a great deal, strolls about more and more and returns as late as possible to the office, where he is the drudge. He is ususally named Pitou, Godard or Galuchet." Perhaps autobiographical but no physical resemblance to HD.
  • "Mr Business-Only, a lawyer without cases, pretending to be in a great hurry, knocks down a dozen urchins every day in the waiting room of the law court, tramples five or six mongrels and hopes, by these gymnastic exercises, to make people believe he has a large clientele."

1822 taught drawing and new art of lithography. When July Monarchy overthrew Bourbons in 1830 HD became political cartoonist for republican magazine La Caricature. Became well known as satirist. Imprisoned for 6 months 1832-33 for satirical print of King Loius-Philippe "Gargantua" eating wealth of France. Continued to satirise king after imprisonment.

Overhead of political caricatures - "The Pear" and "the principal actor":

  • "The Past, the present, the future" Pear became famous symbol of caricature during July Monarchy. Appeared in protest posters on walls in Paris.
  • "Principal actor in a tragicomic imbroglio". Revealing of HD's political views. Critical of king's charade of democracy and liberalism. King's cockaded silk hat falls away and uncovers a crown. Bourgeois umbrella falls as his overcoat opens, revealing a royal costume. Smiling mask shows the angry face of King underneath. Standing on papers with "Prerogatives of the Chambers" indicating the rights of the deputies in the parliament usurped by the King.

After strict censorship imposed in mid 1830s turned to a series of famous caricatures of bourgeois life - the dishonest promoter "Robert Macaire" and lawyers. Returned to political cartoons after 1848 when censorship briefly ended. Created figure "Ratapoil" (Ratskin) symbolising new president Louis-Napoleon.

Overhead of caricatures of bourgeois life - Ratapoil and Second Republic:

  • "Fair lady, will you accept my arm?" "Your passion is too sudden for me to believe in it." Ratapoil agent of Louis-Napoleon, bears striking resemblance to LN (sharp nose and pointed beard). Acts as hired agent of LN stirring up trouble to pave way for master to assume throne. HD made statue of Ratapoil which wife would hide whenever she heard footsteps on stairs.


War and Art

Images from 1830s - of brutal repression of dissent by troops in July Monarchy

Images from 1840s (1848 Rev)

So this is why we got ourselves killed for (102K) August 1835

After Loius-Napoleon became emperor severe censorship reimposed. HD avoided political cartooning. During 1860s met younger radical artists like Manet and Monet. Work showed tragic side during 1860s as international situation deteriorated. Drew 417 lithos on international themes 1866-1872, with many warnings about rise of Prussian militarism.

Images from 1850s (dictatorship of Napoleon III 1851, Crimean War 1854-56, Italian Independence 1859)

  • 1851 - Gingerbread bas-relief - A General's triumphant entrance (162K)
  • 1854 - "The Army Hierarchy" (104K) On military hierarchy and discipline
  • 1854 - The Battle Commanders (119K) On indifference of militarty leaders to suffering of troops
  • 1855 - Tsar Nicholas I - "Confound it! I was wrong to take on all of Europe" (128K) Tsar attempts to seize entire globe which threatens to crush him. In the background are silhouettes of French and British soldiers. During Crimean war series of lithographs depicting stupidities of inadequate Russian generals, badly prepared and equiped soldiers, frustrated Tsar. Censorship relaxed to enable criticism of France's enemies. Although about Russia just as applicable to French.
  • 1859 - Troop Departure (136K) Labelled El Cid to get past censors but picture of knight riding off to battle to cheering crowds. On popular enthusiasm for war and patriotism.
  • 1859 - The Conqueror (128K) Drinking, raping. On behaviour of conquering troops

1855 - Tsar Nicholas I - "Confound it! I was wrong to take on all of Europe" (128K)

Images from the 1860s

  • Jan 26, 1866 The Danaides up to date (111K) On war expenditure. Danaïdes 50 daughters of Danaus, King of Argo, sentenced to underworld for murdering their husbands. Eternal punishment carry water in sieve and pour it into broken cask. New Danaïdes were powers of Europe filling bottomless cask (named "treaties of 1815, the obsolete balance of power") with sacks of gold or military spending to maintain balance of power between states.
  • Dec 1, 1866. The European Balance of Power (94K) instability of international situation, globe balanced on bayonets.
  • 1866 - "Just take a new rifle into your hand, pull the trigger, and you'll kill ten times as many men as before." "Ah yes Papa - that's what we call progress." On military training for youth
  • 1868 - Disarmament - apres vous (136K) HD mocking militarists who bow and smile but will not enter the negotiating room.
  • Dec 1868 "Christmas presents for 1868". On prediction of war in near future. Europe finds her Christmas presents by the fireplace - cannon, guns, bayonets, bullets.
  • Jan 26, 1869. Poor Old Fellow (94K) An old veteran in 18th C costume broken with age and injuries symbolises European balance of power. Attended by equally aged and battered old women "Conference", the courtisan, toothless old hag with powdered hair and costume.
  • ? "Balance of Power" Europe nervously balancing on a smoking bomb.
  • Oct 12, 1869. Just like Pantin (128K) On Prussian militarism. In village of Pantin in 1869 scene of mass murder which HD likened to Prussian seizure of territory. Helmeted Bismarck crushing Duchy of Baden. Other victims Saxony, Hanover, Hesse piled up on the ground. HD drew 55 lithos depicting rise of German Empire.
  • Images of Peace
  • On weapons makers.

Dec 1, 1866. The European Balance of Power (94K)

On Franco-Prussian War.

  • On popular enthusiasm for war and patriotism.
  • Aug 22, 1870. Bismarck's Nightmare "Thanks!" (128K) In a dream Death thanks Bismarck (asleep in chair under tent) for the wars he has brought about. Death grasps his arm to point with hand and scythe towards battlefield. Appeared one month after French declaration of war in July 1870. HD's warning of tremndous loss of life France was to suffer at hands of Prussians.
  • Appalled at the Heritage (94K) Jan 11, 1871. Female figure representing France and New Year of 1871 looks back aghast and weeping at devastation of 1870.
  • France as Prometheus and the eagle as vulture (111K) Feb 13, 1871. Prometheus angered gods for bringing fire to mankind. Punishment to have liver pecked at by vulture for eternity. France as Prometheus. Eagle imperial eagle of Nap III or Prussia. Liver French lives lost by Nap III or reparations demanded by Prussians.
  • Peace, an Idyll (77K) March 6, 1871. Skeleton of peace wearing bonnet with flowers and ribbons oblivious to surrounding devastation playing pipes (threnody of death) among ruins.
  • 1870 - Postwar Landscape (102K)

Images about fall of Napoleon III's Second Empire (1870-71)

  • 1870 The Empire is Peace (102K) - The end of NapIII's Second Empire. Although Louis-Nap had promised peace when he became emperor Nap III, "L'empire, c'est la paix" 1870 entered into numerous reckless military adventures between 1851-1870: Crimean war against Russia, China, joined Sardinia against Austria (Solferino), 1861-7 attempted to establish French Empire in Mexico, Franco-Prussian war 1870.
  • Oct 18 1870 - Whose turn is it now? (128K) Defeat in war means the end of NapIII's empire. Napoleonic eagle joins the relics of other overthrown French regimes.
  • Nov 16, 1870 - Page of History (128K). Victor Hugo's poems of opposition cruch the Napoleonic eagle.

Witnessed siege of Paris after fall of emperor at Sedan. After suppression of the Commune and creation of Third Republic under Thiers HD became blind and stopped work.

Aug 22, 1870. Bismarck's Nightmare "Thanks!" (128K)

Other works:

"Just take a new rifle into your hand, pull the trigger, and you'll kill ten times as many men as before." "Ah yes Papa - that's what we call progress" (128K)