Paris: Chez Aubert, 1838. Item #05441
Daumier's Most Celebrated Work
Les Robert Macaire [Caricaturana]
Complete with 100 Spectacular Hand-Colored Plates, All Heightened with Gum Arabic
A Remarkable Example in the Original Publisher's Blue Cloth
DAUMIER, Honoré and Charles Philipon. Les Robert Macaire [Caricaturana]. Paris: 1838.
First edition. Folio (13 3/16 x 10 3/8 inches; 338 x 263 mm.). One hundred [and one] hand-colored lithographed plates (complete) heightened with gum arabic. In this copy plate 96 "A tous les coeurs bien nés que le patrie est chère!!" (DR-451 published 10/28/1838) has been substituted by the insertion of "Robert Macaire 2e. Sèrie 7. Nouveautés philantropiques." (DR-872 published 04/04/1841) - The plate number has been changed in old ink to "96" - most likely by the publisher prior to binding - see note below. [An original hand colored example of plate 96 "A tous les coeurs bien nés que le patrie est chère!!" (DR-451 published 10/28/1838) has now been inserted after plate 95].
The first plate bound a little tight at top margin just touching image, plate 13 (DR-366) with small (1 1/2 inch) expertly repaired marginal tear just touching image, plate 32 (DR- 385); Small expert repair (5/8 inch) to inner blank margin of plate 46 (DR-401); tiny (5/16 inch) repaired tear on blank margins of plates 11 (DR-364), 31 (DR-385) and 48 (DR-403) - a few plates very slightly toned, plate 34 (DR-388) a little foxed.
Publisher's diaper grain blue cloth, covers ruled in blind, front cover with "Robert - Macaire" decoratively stamped in gilt, plain endpapers (expertly re-cased, inner hinges repaired). Old (April 1942) booksellers catalog description on front free-endpaper (not mentioning the substituted plate). Old tape residue on front free and rear endpapers. An excellent example of Honoré Daumier's most celebrated work, the superb hand coloring bright and fresh.
This is only the second time we have seen this book in the publisher's binding.
Note: The second series of Robert Macaire - twenty lithographs (DR-866 - DR-885 was published from 10/25/1840 to 09/11/1842) and is excessively rare - we have never seen or handled any of these plates before.
"Les Robert Macaire remains Daumier's best-known work... Baudelaire chose it... 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 [however the vast majority of these copies were issued with plain lithographs - only a few copies were issued with hand-coloring]. Yet so persistent was the demand that 6000 two-volume sets of reduced copies, called Les cent-et-un Robert Macaire, were published in 1839..." (Ray).
Though 2,500 may have been printed few have survived. OCLC/KVK records only two complete copies in institutions worldwide, Sadleir's at the Morgan Library, and one at Yale. ABPC reports only seven complete copies at auction since 1935.
The 'reduced' edition of 1839-41 Les cent-et-un Robert Macaire is still quite rare at auction (two complete copies only since 1975) but there are more copies in institutional holdings.
"When politics became a forbidden topic in Le Charivari, where Caricaturana 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 Frederick Lemaitre had created in a hack melodrama called L'Auberge des adrets, they showed him... 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... Though Daumier's designs are are superb in themselves... they would be incomplete without the unfailing wit and point of Philipon's captions" (Ray).
Daumier Register 354-373, 375-455; Ray, Art of the French Illustrated Book 161. Beraldi V, p. 124.