Gallery of prints for sale

Sunday 14 November 2021

Honoré Daumier’s lithograph, “A Janitor Posing as a Dignified Man”, 1856

Honoré Daumier (1808–1879)

“A Janitor Posing as a Dignified Man” (plate title: “- Je ne vois pas pourquoi on ne nous nommerait pas aussi un de ces jours, membres du conseil de surveillance ...... ça n'est pas difficile d'avoir un air de dignité ...... voici comme il suffit de se poser!.......” [transl.] “I really don't see why we shouldn't be nominated members of the surveillance council one of these days..... after all it isn't that difficult to look dignified... how about a pose like this?”), 1856, plate number 2 (stone number 926) from the series, “Croquis Parisiens” (Parisian sketches—a series of 120 prints “published in the Charivari, in the Journal Amusant and in the Petit Journal pour Rire between September 1852 and February 1877” [see]), showing a light-hearted characterisation of the pose assumed by dignified officials, printed by Destouches (fl. 1855–1869) and published in Paris by Martinet-Hautecoeur (aka Martinet) (fl. 1824–) in “Le Charivari”, May 28, 1856.

Brandeis Institutional Repository offers the following insights about this lithograph:

“A janitor is posing and wondering why he has not been nominated for a council. Both men note that it is not very difficult to pose as a dignified man. Similar to the series “Les bons bourgeois” the Croquis Parisiens are dealing with numerous small misfortunes in the life of the Parisians” (

Google Translate explains the meaning of the journal title, “Le Charivari”: “a cacophonous mock serenade, typically performed by a group of people in derision of an unpopular person or in celebration of a marriage”.

Lithograph on thin wove (newsprint) paper trimmed with a narrow margin around the image with printed text verso (as published in “Le Charivari”), backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 23.3 x 25.8 cm; (inner image borderline) 19.9 x 24.8 cm.

Lettered in stone: (within the image borderline at lower left) “h.D.”; (within the image borderline at lower right) “926”; (below the image borderline at left) “maison Martinet,146,r.Rivoli et 41,r.Vivienne.”; (below the image borderline at centre) “- Je ne vois pas pourquoi on ne nous nommerait pas aussi un de ces jours, membres du conseil de surveillance ...... ça n'est pas difficile d'avoir un air de dignité ...... voici comme il suffit de se poser!.......”; (below the image borderline at right) “Lith. Destouches, 28,r.Paradis Pre-Paris.”

State ii (of ii) the published state with the addition of lettered text below the image borderline.

Delteil  2801 (Loys Delteil 1902, “Le Peintre-Graveur Illustré (XIXe et XXe siècles)”, 31 vols, Paris). offers technical, descriptive and background details regarding this lithograph:

Condition: a strong impression, trimmed close to the image borderline, but retaining the text lines and laid upon a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in a near pristine condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling.

I am selling this confident and loosely drawn lithograph showing two janitors discussing the importance of looking dignified if they wished to become council officials, for AU$181 in total (currently US$132.79/EUR116/GBP98.97 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this fascinating caricature of two janitors in conversation—note how the angle of the feather duster held by the janitor on the left matches the angle of his haughty backward tilt and the suggestion of burred foreshortening on the right janitor’s arm—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know your thoughts, advice about inaccuracies (including typos) and additional information that you would like to add to any post.