Detail View: The AMICA Library: The Connoisseur

AMICA Library Year: 
Object Type: 
Drawings and Watercolors
Creator Name: 
Daumier, Honoré-Victorin
Creator Role: 
Creator Dates/Places: 
Creator Name-CRT: 
Honoré-Victorin Daumier
The Connoisseur
Full View
Creation Date: 
ca. 1860-65
Creation Start Date: 
Creation End Date: 
Materials and Techniques: 
Pen and ink, wash, watercolor, lithographic crayon, and gouache over black chalk on wove paper.
Sheet: 17 1/4 x 14 in. (43.8 x 35.5cm)
AMICA Contributor: 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: 
New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 
Credit Line: 
H.O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, 1929

Daumier spent most of his life drawing for the wide audience reached by France's popular press. But when he was temporarily let go from the magazine 'Le Charivari' in 1860, he began to produce highly finished watercolors designed particularly for collectors. The Paris art market of the late nineteenth century, no longer the exclusive realm of princes and barons, flourished thanks to the keen interest of art-loving lawyers, bankers, industrialists, and merchants. Daumier often pictured the broad spectrum of enthusiasts attending exhibitions or visiting artists' studios; here he portrayed the model connoisseur engaged in the rapt contemplation of his collection.

The special object of this collector's appreciation is a tabletop replica of the Venus de Milo, the monumental Greek marble that came to symbolize the beauty of antique art upon its installation in the Louvre in 1821. As if aware of the admiration directed toward her (by the sculpted and painted men in the room as well as by the connoisseur), the statuette returns the collector's gaze, somewhat impudently, it seems, and with exaggerated body torsion-which was modified in the original sculpture when its upper and lower parts were readjusted in 1871.

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