Paris: Chez Aubert, 1838. Item #05492
The First Twenty Hand Colored Lithographs of
Daumier's Most Celebrated Work
DAUMIER, Honoré and Charles Philipon. Les Robert Macaire [Caricaturana]. Paris: Chez Aubert, 1836-1838.
First edition. Oblong folio (10 3/8 x 14 inches; 264 x 355 mm.). Twenty hand-colored lithographed plates (numbered 1 - 20) heightened with gum arabic.
Plate no. 7 supplied and expertly re-margined at gutter and lower margins.
Contemporary quarter green calf over green patterned boards decoratively ruled in gilt with gilt corner pieces, smooth spine. Inner hinges repaired, slight rubbing to extremities.
An excellent collection of the first twenty plates of Daumier's Caricaturana.
"Les Robert Macaire remains Daumeir'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. 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 copies in institutions worldwide, Sadleir's at the Morgan Library, and at Yale. Though both are complete only the Morgan copy is in the original cartonnage portfolio. ABPC reports only three complete copies at auction since 1935 and it appears that at least two were rebound; it is safe, we think, to presume that the third copy was also rebound. The 'reduced' edition of 1839 is still quite rare at auction (two 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 designes are are superb in themselves...they would be incomplete without the unfailing wit and point of Philipon's captions" (Ray).
Ray, Art of the French Illustrated Book 161. Beraldi V, p. 124.