Honoré Daumier, Street Scene with a Mountebank Playing a Drum, a drawing in pen and watercolour over black chalk

France, around AD 1865

This is one of the most famous drawings by Daumier (1808-79), and was made as a finished work in its own right. During his lifetime, Daumier was known almost emtirely as a caricaturist, where his genius had been celebrated by such influential critics as Charles Baudelaire. By comparison, his paintings and drawings were unknown and ignored. They were first revealed to the general public in a show put on by a group of friends in the year before his death in order to raise funds to reprieve his poverty and blindness. The theme of the aged clown, playing his drum while being ignored by bystanders has often been read as a metaphor for the artist's own predicament.

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More information


, Daumier 1808-1879 (Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, 1999)

C. Ives and others, Daumier drawings (New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992)


Height: 354.000 mm
Width: 256.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1968-2-10-30


Bequeathed by César Mange de Hauke


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