Publisher / Artist : DAUMIER, H.
Title : Messieurs et Dames! Les mines d'argent…(Plate 7)
Published : Paris 1864
Size : 250 x 208mm.
Colouring : Uncoloured.
Condition : Litho printed on white wove paper without text on the verso. Some very light marginal spotting. Else in very good condition.
Translation in English of text title: Ladies and gentlemen! Silver mines, gold mines, diamond mines are only thin gruel and stale rolls in comparison with coal . . . But even so, (you're going to say), you're selling your shares for a million? . . . I'm not selling my shares, gentlemen, I'm giving them away for 200 miserable francs, I'm giving two for every one, I'm giving away a needle, an ear-pick, a bodkin, and what's more, I give you my blessing into the bargain. Bring out the big drum!
Again Daumier is aiming at Girardin who had been offering mining shares to the public. The entire project was a scam and all participants, with the exception of Girardin, were sent to prison.
CARICATURANA is a series consisting of 100 numbered lithographs, which appeared in the Charivari between August 20, 1836 and November 25, 1838.
All 100 prints of the series „Caricaturana“ were published sur blanc as an album under the title "Les Robert Macaires" in 1838 and offered to collectors. The black and white album cost 45 francs, while the colored version was offered at 55 francs.
Published by Bauger, rue du Croissant 16 (lower left). Printed by Imprimeurs d'Aubert & Cie at Aubert, Place de la Bourse.
Philipon was the author of all the texts of this series. It should be noted that Daumier did not monogram or sign the prints, presumable because Philipon wanted to document his position as author of the texts and as “inventor” of the series.
After the September laws it was impossible for Daumier to draw political caricatures. A solution had to be found how the system of the “Juste Milieu” could be attacked without getting political about it. The Robert-Macaire series was the answer. Macaire personified the clever business man, who was willing at any time to throw moral and ethical principles overboard for a quick buck. His personality fitted exactly to the period so well described by Alexis de Tocqueville: self-enrichment at all levels and a Government run on shareholders principles. Short-selling, pyramid systems, investments in Californian gold mines and IPOs of non existent companies were the name of the game. Thanks to Macaire and Bertrand, all the little tricks were demonstrated in detail to the public.
Robert Macaire may seem to be a realistic figure, however one should remember that in reality he is an artificial personality, created in 1823 by Benjamin Antier for his play „ L’Auberge des Adrets“. The breakthrough came in 1834, when Frédéric Lemaitre used the names of Macaire and his somewhat simple partner Serres-Bertrand for his various comedies in Paris. The figure of Macaire goes back as far as 1371, when - as the legend goes - Aubri de Montdidier, a nobleman from the court of Charles V was assassinated by Macaire. The murder was vindicated by his dog, the only witness of the assassination. A duel between the dog and Macaire, who was armed with a cudgel, should settle the case. The dog killed Macaire, who confessed the murder before he died.
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