June 16, 2003
We received information about DR 3740 from Mr. Timothy Riggs, curator at the Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, giving a new explanation to this lithograph.
The original background information explained that the German states which were annexed by Bismarck in 1866 (Saxonia, Hesse, and Hannover) are lying to his feet like in a tomb. The chancellor holds Baden like a puppet in his hand. In order not to alienate France, Baden as a close neighbour to France was initially reluctant to join the German nation under Bismarck. The Rhine river was a rather unsafe border between the two countries and Baden’s economic interests were closely linked to the French side of the great stream. Eventually pressure from the German side and Prussian Pan-Germanic ideology became so dominant that Baden finally had to give in and join the North-German Union.
The French word “PANTIN” personifies a “jack in the box”, “political jumping Jack” or a mere puppet”.
Mr. Riggs pointed out that he owns a newsprint impression of this and had puzzled over the meaning of the title for many years before accidentally running across the key:
In 1869, the town of Pantin just outside Paris was the scene of a sensational crime. J. B. Troppman, a young man lodging with a family, murdered the entire family and buried the bodies. Daumier’s composition, showing Prussia strangling the smaller German states and throwing them into a mass grave, is linked to Troppman’s crime by the title „Following the Pantin example“.
We will add this information to the database of our future digital DAUMIER REGISTER.