Saltimbanques Resting

Honoré Daumier (French, 1808-1879)
Oil on canvas 
21-1/2 x 25-3/4 in. (54.6 x 65.4 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Not on View

Daumier was the great caricaturist of the nineteenth century. He published over 4,000 caricatures in French newspapers, but he was also a painter. Like his print work, Daumier’s paintings often depict people on the margins of modern society—in this case, a group of down-at-heel circus performers: two clowns and a little acrobat. Unlike his caricatures, Daumier’s paintings are comparatively rare and often poorly preserved, since he was essentially self-taught and never learned the finer points of oil technique. The Norton Simon’s ownership of both a study and a finished picture is unusual and instructive; the crackled surface of the sketch may indicate how quickly Daumier worked it up, revising the poses and painting over his mistakes before underlying layers had properly dried.


[Durand-Ruel, Paris].
Jean Joubert, Paris, by 1901, still in 1922.
[Paul Rosenberg, Paris, stock nos. 1274 and 1151].
C. C. Stillman, by inheritance to;
Dr. Ernest G. Stillman (sale, New York, American Art Association, 3 February 1927, lot 23, ill., as Le Repos des Saltimbanques, to);
[Paul Rosenberg, Paris].
Arthur Sachs, New York and Paris, by 1930, until at least 1939;
[Wildenstein and Co., New York, sold 1955 to];
Norton Simon, gift 1976 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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