Honoré Daumier was eight years old when his father, a glazier and frame maker who had decided to pursue his poetic talents in Paris, sent for the wife and three sons he lad left behind in Marseilles. In Paris Daumier studied drawing with Alexandre Lenoir (1761-1839) and at the Académie Suisse. Around 1825 he began a five-year apprenticeship with the publisher and lithographer Zépherin Belliard (1798-?). The July revolution of 1830, which established Louis-Philippe as the constitutional monarch in France, coincided with Daumier's creation of satirical lithographs aimed at this new government. That same year he joined La Caricature, a political journal founded by the republican artist-publisher, Charles Philipon (1802-1862). Daumier's antimonarchist and liberal subjects that were printed in this paper eventually cost the journal censorship and the artist six months in jail (31 August 1832 to 14 February 1833) plus a 300-franc fine. His prison sentence did not deter him from producing political statements and, in fact, only fueled his rage. The subjects of his lithographs became much more aggressive. In 1835 he worked for Philipon's second publication, Le Charivari, a humorous political newspaper that published Daumier's satirical caricature until it, too, suffered censorship under the new government. Although Daumier may be best known for his graphic art, he was also a sculptor and a prolific painter. Sculpture became another medium to produce his infamous caricatures. His friend, Honoré de Balzac, French novelist and editor of La Caricature, saw in these works the force of Michelangelo. In 1834 Daumier began experimenting with painting, both in oil and watercolor. Apart from his Salon entries of 1849 and 1850, his paintings, which totaled over three hundred, were painted primarily for his own pleasure and virtually unknown to the public until after his death in 1879.
Henri Joseph Harpignies
Born into a bourgeois family of Belgian descent who established a sugar beet factory, Henri Joseph Harpignies became seriously interested in painting during an extended trip through France in 1838. However, he first worked as a sales agent until 1848, when he entered the studio of landscape painter Jean-Alexis Achard (1807-1884). Harpignies traveled to Crémieu and Brussels with Achard but decided to return home upon the outbreak of the revolution of 1848. After the revolution, he traveled through southern Germany and to Italy, where the natural surroundings made a strong impact on his work and where he first became interested in watercolor. He was accepted into the Salon of 1853 and exhibited there regularly until 1912. Harpignies was influenced by Corot (q.v.) and the other Barbizon painters and worked in their manner. He traveled throughout France, visiting the forest of Fontainebleau, the Pyrenees, Nevers, and other areas, making landscape studies. He returned to Italy from 1863 through 1865, after his marriage to Marguerite Ventillard. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) he fought with the National Guard at Hérisson, where he would return each summer throughout the 1870s. Harpignies took on his own private pupils, whom he taught his watercolor technique, and his contract with the dealers Arnold & Tripp in 1883 secured his financial independence. During the final decades of his life, he traveled often to La Trémellerie at Saint-Privé and painted along the coast of Nice and Menton.