Spotlight Talk: Maxime Valsamas

March 24, 2016

Maxime Valsamas, PhD student, Department of Art History & Archeology in Arts & Sciences, on Honoré Daumier’s Europe (1867).

Honoré Daumier was a committed pacifist and a passionate critic of the international relations that grew out of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and the 1867 Universal Exposition held in Paris. In Europe, a lithograph published in a satirical journal in 1867, Daumier presents an allegorical image visualizing the political discontent that threatened European peace before the eventual outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870. He depicts Europe as an imposing woman, a warrior with a large shield leaning against her side and surrounded by birds in flight. This Spotlight talk will explore Daumier’s late political allegories and how the artist avoided censorship at a time when laws against the press still interfered with the publication of illustrated satirical journals.

Image credit

Honoré Daumier, Europe, 1867. Lithograph, 1/4, 13 1/2 x 11". Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. University purchase with funds from John Peters MacCarthy, 2005.