Reviews: Royal Academy's Daumier Visions of Paris
'Unmissable' Daumier show reveals French satirist's remarkable artistic versatility
What you need to know
The Royal Academy's new exhibition of the work of French satirist Honoré Daumier has been praised as "exhilarating" and "unmissable" but left some critics wanting more.
Daumier (1808-1879): Visions of Paris presents 130 works by the artist, including paintings (Lunch in the Country edit above), drawings, watercolours, sculptures and models . Daumier worked as a caricaturist in newspapers during the politically volatile 19th century, often risking the ire of authorities by ridiculing a greedy and corrupt elite.
The Academy's chronological show presents a wide of Daumier's work both as a caricaturist and artist. His images of Paris life include laundresses and street entertainers, political scenes and figures from the art world. Runs until 26 January 2014.
What the critics like
In the Royal Academy's "unmissable" Daumier exhibition, the artistic versatility is remarkable, says The Guardian. It is the ribald immediacy of Daumier's caricatures that hits home hardest - truly the Steve Bell of his era.
The show reveals the range and variety of Daumier's legacy and how he discovered "a timeless language", says Rachel Campbell-Johnston in The Times. His work speaks with a raw human honesty, of the protests, impoverished migrants and conflict-torn streets that find their modern-day reflections in myriad newspaper photographs.
The Royal Academy's "exhilarating" survey of the French caricaturist gives equal weight to his lesser-known paintings, says Fisun Guner on ArtsDesk. There is something beguiling and rather mysterious about these paintings, many unfinished and abandoned, and the sculptures and models are fascinating too.
What they don't like
"For anyone without decent knowledge of French 19th-century history, this exhibition may come as something of a kick in the Balzacs," says Alastair Smart in the Daily Telegraph. The lack of context provided by the curators means that the myriad works blur wearyingly into one - Daumier deserves better treatment than this. ·