May 1, 2004

La promenade à Romainville.

Again we are very fortunate to present to the constantly increasing group of Daumier collectors an extremely rare print: LD C ( NDR nr. 4008), originating from a German private collection. (LD C is part of a group of 5 very early lithographs, numbered LD A, B, C, D, E.) Of LD C, there are presently only four prints known to exist: three in colour, one in black and white.

Bibliothèques Nationales de France, Cabinet des Estampes, Paris, France

Marcel Lecomte Collection

Gaston-Dreyfus Collection

Private Collection, Germany

This print was deposited with the Ministry of the Interior on December 24, 1822. Honoré Daumier was a boy of fourteen years. It still has the traits of a beginner’s work: although the ground is uneven, the figures seem to be walking elegantly as if on a paved street. In any case, Daumier already as a young boy showed a sense of satire. Romainville, a little village east of Paris, was known for its Vaudeville. Variétés had been performed there since 1807. The actor Brunet started his career there with his role as Pépin, dashing around with a large green umbrella.

The print shows a family of four strolling by a wheat field at the outskirts of the village. The son is playing the flute, while the parents and the daughter enjoy the flowers in the field. Two men are coming their way, while another group of men is in front of a house nearby, surrounded by trees. In the background there is another house and two windmills.

Hazard does not mention these lithographs in his work catalogue. Over many years, various authors have been questioning the authenticity of the five prints LD A, B, C, D, and E. Since the mid-1960’s however, Daumier research has accepted these prints as authentic. It may even be assumed that Daumier, apart from these prints, might have drawn still other prints under a different name. Adhémar and Baudelaire are pointing repeatedly in this direction; no new prints however have been identified lately.