The Ministerial Madhouse: Different obsessions of deranged politicians
Honoré Daumier ( French, 1808 - 1879 )
Honoré Daumier used lithographs printed in La Caricature to relentlessly attack “Citizen-King” Louis-Philippe’s regime. This print, first published on May 31, 1832, presents the monarch and other high-ranking government officials as inmates at Le Charenton, a notorious asylum in suburban Paris. Contemporary Parisians would easily have recognized each politician, as Daumier emphasized their unusual physical attributes and depicted them engaging in the dubious activities that earned them the public’s mistrust. The central figure is Georges Mouton, the soldier turned politician who quelled many riots near the Place Vendôme using high-pressure water hoses, which Daumier converted into syringes. To the far left, Louis-Philippe’s chief censor and Minister of the Interior, the Comte Antoine-Maurice-Apollinaire, known as D’Argout, rides a giant pair of scissors. His oversized nose made him a favored target for Daumier’s caricatures. At the bottom of the print, Daumier included each official’s scathing nickname, making this work one of the rare instances when he felt compelled to add descriptive text.
Martha MacLeod, DMA label copy, 2016.
- National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Read a biography of Daumier from the NGA.