Paris: Chez Aubert et Cie, , 1839. Item #03985
An Exceptionally Rare Original Hand-Colored Copy
[DAUMIER, Honoré, illustrator]. PHILIPON, Charles. Les Cent et Un Robert-Macaire composés et dessinés par M. H. Daumier, sur les Idées et les Légendes de M. Ch. Philipon réduits et lithographiés par MM***; Texte par MM. Maurice Alhoy et Louis Huart. Paris: Chez Aubert et Cie, 1839.
First Quarto Edition. Two quarto volumes bound in one. (10 3/4 x 8 3/8 inches; 273 x 212 mm.). [viii], [2, advertisements], , , [1, blank]; [vi], [2, advertisements], , , [1, blank] pp. With 101 magnificent hand-colored lithographed plates, heightened with gum arabic.
Contemporary three-quarter maroon straight-grain morocco over marbled boards, ruled in gilt. Spine with five raised bands decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, marbled end-papers. Front free endpaper with the small blue leather bookplates of R. Descamps Scrive and Georges Laine, and also the engraved bookplate of Bernard Bloch-Levalois. A fine and large example with spectacular original hand-coloring and a fine provenance.
“Les Robert-Macaire remains Daumier’s best-known series…Baudelaire chose it, along with Histoire ancienne, for specific discussion in his essay on French caricaturists, and Carteret accorded it a place in his bibliography. Its contemporary popularity was immense. As an album it was published by Aubert in an edition of 2500 copies, a far larger number than for any other series. Yet, so persistent was the demand, that 600 two-volume sets of reduced copies, called Les cent-et-un Robert-Macaire, were published in 1839…When politics became a forbidden topic in Le charivari, where Caricaturana [Les Robert-Macaire] first appeared, Daumier and Philipon turned to social satire. If they could not attack Louis Philippe directly, they could at least show the kind of society that flourished under his gross and venal regime. Taking the flamboyant and florid swindler Macaire from the character that Frédérick Lemaître had created in a hack melodrama called L’Auberge des adrets, they showed him and his inseparable companion, the dejected and meager Bertrand, ranging through all kinds of commercial enterprise, in the stock market, in the banks, in the courts, and in dozens of other public settings, never failing to find eager dupes. Macaire is equally persuasive in the encounters of private life, where no situation finds him at a loss for an appropriate flower of sentiment…Though Daumier’s designs are superb in themselves, particularly in the variety of supple and telling poses…that he conceives for Macaire and Bertrand, they would be incomplete without the unfailing wit and point of Philipon’s captions” (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, pp. 234-236).
“These reduced and for the most part reversed copies of Daumier’s lithographs, apparently drawn by Menut Alophe, are greatly inferior to the originals. Unlike Caricaturana, the series is not often found colored” (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, p. 236).
Carteret III, p.187. Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, 162. Vicaire III, cols. 31-32 (under Alhoy) and V, cols. 572-573 (under Philipon).