Daumier and Exoticism

Satirizing the French and the Foreign

by Elizabeth C. Childs (Author)
©2004 Monographs XX, 254 Pages
Series: Hermeneutics of Art, Volume 11


Best known as a satirist of Parisian politics and daily life, Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) was a prolific caricaturist. This book is the first to examine the role of exoticism in his art, and to offer a detailed history of the journal Le Charivari in which the lithographs appeared. These satires of China, Haiti, the United States, Africa, and the Middle East not only target the theater of international politics, but also draw on a broad range of physical stereotypes supported by contemporary ideas about race and cultural difference. In an art of comic inversion, Daumier used the exotic to expose the foibles and pretensions of the Parisian bourgeoisie. A pacifist and a Republican, Daumier also satirized the non-European world in order to covertly attack the imperialism of Napoléon III in an age of press censorship. Idealistic as well as pragmatic, he used humor to stage political critique as well as to envision a more unified and compassionate world.


XX, 254
ISBN (Hardcover)
politics stereotypes imperialism humor censorship
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2004. XX, 254 pp., 72 ill.

Biographical notes

Elizabeth C. Childs (Author)

The Author: Elizabeth C. Childs is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis, where she has taught since 1993. She has published several articles on Daumier and has also edited two books on the artist: Honoré Daumier: A Thematic Guide to the Œuvre and (with Kirsten Hoving) Femmes d’esprit: Women in Daumier’s Caricature. She has also edited Suspended License: Censorship and the Visual Arts and has published widely on primitivism and exoticism in modern art.


Title: Daumier and Exoticism