Le Cauchemar (1832)

Daumier, Honoré (1808-1879)

Le Cauchemar (The Nightmare)
published 1832
Lithograph, 23.3 x 29.4 cm
Princeton University Art MuseumPrinceton

Daumier, along with his editor and fellow caricaturist Charles Philipon, scandalized the monarchy of Louis-Philippe through his increasingly critical depictions of the king as a pear. Although Philipon was the originator of the concept, Daumier adopted and popularized the motif, and both Daumier and Philipon were imprisoned for six months in 1832 for their caricatures of the king. Daumier’s The Nightmare—a clear reference to Henry Fuseli’s painting of the same name—shows the popular Marquis de Lafayette asleep with the pear of Louis-Philippe resting on his chest. Lafayette, a hero in the French and American revolutions, initially supported the July Revolution that brought Louis-Philippe to power in 1830, but he came to regret the decision. This caricature illustrates the pear literally weighing heavily on him. (PUAM)