Daumier’s paintings, the majority having been executed after 1848, point to the direction of a more modern art.
Tempelaere, Brame and Gustave, Paris (acquired from the above, 1895)
Groesbeck, Amsterdam until 1956 (acquired from the above, 1895)
Van Wisselingh, E.J., Amsterdam
Private collection, Netherlands (acquired from the above in 1956)
Thence by descent to the present owner
London, Tate Gallery, Daumier: Paintings and Drawings, June14-July 30, 1961, no. 24.
Maison, Karl Eric, “Some unpublished works by Daumier,” in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, vol. LI, May-June 1958, p. 342, ill.
Daumier: Paintings and drawings, exh. cat., Tate Gallery, 1961, p. 31.
Maison, Karl Eric, Honoré Daumier: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolors, and the Drawings, Paris, London and New York, 1967, I-218, pl. 33.
Georgel, P. & Gabriele Mandel, Tout l'Œuvre Peint de Daumier, Paris, 1972, no. 278.
The Daumier Register, no. 7218
While he was most well-known for his subjects depicting political cartoons and humorous caricatures, Têtes d’Enfants reveals a different aspect of Daumier’s art. Here, he shows two young children with an intimacy that one rarely sees in his work. Although they have not been identified, their individualistic features make them much more personal than the anonymous figures that generally populate Daumier’s figure pictures.
In his article on unpublished works by Daumier in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Karl Eric Maison compares Têtes d’Enfants to a portrait of a girl, which was finished after Daumier’s death. He comments: “A comparison with the very powerful, yet tender and moving sketch of Two Little Children, in contrast [to the above mentioned portrait], proves again that the true Daumier can never be “ pretty ”. This very beautiful study (panel, 22 x 27.5 cm.) was part of a series of twelve sketches sold by M. Leroy of Versailles to the firm of Tempelaere, in or before 1895. M Groesbeck of Amsterdam bought the present picture from Tempelaere in 1895, and it was in his collection until 1956. Nothing had been added to this sketch, except the initials H.D., in Roman capitals : not a serious attempt, therefore, to imitate the well known initial-signature.” (Gazette des Beaux-Arts, vol. LI, May-June 1958, p. 342).
Daumier’s paintings, the majority having been executed after 1848, point to the direction of a more modern art. There is an emphasis on an « impressionistic » style before the term was codified and Têtes d’Enfants, either deliberately or accidentally, gives a preview of what would later become Impressionism.