Vincent and Daumier

Vincent van Gogh was a generous man. He admired a lot of artists, all kind of artists (Meissonier, “le pompier” was, surprisingly for us, today, one of his preferred artists…) and was very generous with his praises for younger artists like Émile Bernard. But there are some names which are mentionned over and over in his letters. Honoré Daumier is one of them. Délacroix is another. Le vieux Millet another yet…

He was an unconditional admirer of  those and he did, especially in his last years, copies, “interpretations” of paintings by Daumier and Millet, especially. Of course, if the design is clearly Daumier or Millet, the color and the brush technique was very much “Vincent”.

Here are two samples, one after Daumier, one after Millet:

The Drunkard after Daumier

The Sheppardess after Millet

I think that if we are to count, the “interpretation” after Millet (Vincent affectionately called him “père Millet” ) are more numerous than those after Daumier. But Vincent greatly admired Daumier, always advising Théo to buy more reproductions and original litographs and expressing a everlasting admiration for the equivalent of Balzac in art: Daumier.

Curiously enough, Balzac, Daumier and Délacroix’s destinies were to touch in more than one occasion. Balzac, for instance, was the Editor  of the magazine Daumier was the illustrator, “La Caricature”, and it was Balzac who, first, detected the genius of Daumier, saying :“Ce gaillard a du Michel – Ange sous la peau” (“This young fellow has Michelangelo under the skin”).

As for Délacroix, he is known to humbly express his unlimited admiration, saying in one occasion to Daumier : “There are very few people I value and admire more than you”…

Finally, Baudelaire, a fine art critic besides being a genius poet, wrote in his 1845 Salons : “We do not know but two artist who draw as good as M. Délacroix: one is M. Ingres, the other is M. Daumier, the caricaturist. Daumier is maybe even a better draftsman if we prefer the healthy, normal qualities to those more weird and more amazing…”

Vincent heartedly admired them both: the healthy and “normal” (but how vigorous and truthfull!) Daumier, “a witness of his time” and Délacroix, the romantic genius. He had a big, comprehensive heart, Vincent and pettiness and meanness weren’t his thing…

6 responses to “Vincent and Daumier

  1. Reblogged this on nós.

  2. Sorry for not having left a comment this time, but I really didn’t feel in a good mood to do so.
    However, I reblogged the text as I always do, whenever I’m allowed to it.
    Hope you’re doing great.
    I’m surviving, so to say. New recently started functions at school suck (bloody boring) and rearrange my life seems to last forever… But I’ll get over it, and “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”… (Well, if this “wise sentence” is really confirmed, once in my life I’ll get really strong…)
    Meanwhile I’m doing some research work for my own joy and pleasure on Marc Chagall that I love so much!
    Haven’t painted for a week which means I’m not really in my best spirits…

    Love from


  3. About your post I must say that only great people, with great value and heart, admire the value of others. (One isn’t really able to value what one doesn’t have or what one doesn’t give value to.)
    They do not envy: they generously help beginners to improve or to “open” doors… They also tend to be honest, critical and stimulating towards others’ work.
    Normally they are quite simple human beings, “reachable” and like to share their work with others: they do not hide it. They are not afraid of “being stolen”, meaning, that someone steals their ideas or anything. They know exactly that the idea belongs to its creator and to no one else, no matter how long and how hard you try. You’ll never get there.
    And only great men (and women, certainly) feel happy for other’s talent and for other’s success. Or rather sad, when others’ real talented work isn’t recognized… ‘Cause they are aware that they all work with the same aim: to leave some mementos behind, some life experiences when “registering” feelings, showing their humanity and emotions through their work, and somehow eternizing themselves as eyewitnesses of life in different types of artistic expression.



  4. I’ll be back soon to answer, C! Bloody boring commissions to do, trying to earn a buck (see? you are not the only one doing a boring job). and didn’t draw or paint since two weeks now! Imagine my mood! A tantôt, comme dissent les quebecois!

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