Although Honoré Daumier worked in many mediums, he is best known for his remarkably astute lithographs and produced nearly four thousand of these prints over his forty-year career. His works are frank, but often still light-hearted, depictions of everyday scenes that illuminate and critique the faults in his social environment. His earliest lithographs, inspired by the political and social tumult that defined France’s July Monarchy, first appeared in the satirical weekly paper La Caricature and the daily paper Le Charivari.
Ma femme est-elle a la maison? (My Wife, Is She at Home?) is from one of Daumier's series illustrating the misbehaviors of the bourgeoisie, "Tout Ce Qu'on Voudra" ("Anything That You Want"). Here, Daumier’s chosen character is a man who is greeted by some unexpected news about his wife and his cousin. In the series as a whole, Daumier exposes the hypocrisy of such individuals and provides a look behind the prim and polished veneer of the upper middle classes.
Label from Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One: Humor and Satire from the Collection, November 19, 2016–March 19, 2017