Les Gens de Justice; Lithograph
Daumier, Honore, 1808-1879
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Daumier designed 39 plates the "Men of the Law." The majority of the scenes appeared in the periodical "Le Charivari" between 21 March 1845 and 31 October 1848. Courted among his most successful print, they depict all the worst aspects of French 19th century legal affairs.Daumier got inspiration for this series from a number of sources. First there were his personal experiences. He worked for a Bailiff in Paris before going on to Lithography, and later spent some time in jail for scandalous depiction of Louis-Philippe as Gargantua. He was also influenced by his editor Philipon, who was noted for his satirical style of writing, and probably supplied Daumier with the captions for the "Men of the Law" series.The caption for the exhibition is not particularly biting; however, others were particularly incisive in pinpointing the shortcomings of the legal system. For example, "Yes I know you've lost your case but surely you enjoyed listening to the eloquent way in which I lost it."Although no direct references to the college's Daumier print was discovered in sources examined, a brief interpretation is attempted. Thought this print belongs to the "Men of the Law" series, it is not concerned, as most of the prints are, with judges or lawyers. Rather, the work is a depiction of an investigation. The three detectives are busy listing objects which they have recently seized. Daumier is not drawing our attention to a particular injustice or negligence. He is merely portraying the stupidity of these fellows who take care to note every detail of the objects in their possession, even the fact that the water pitcher contains no water.
- Printmaking