Past Exhibitions

Parisian Beaches according to Daumier

Du 20/06 au 28/09/2014

Horaires : 10 AM - 6 PM

Plein tarif / Tarif réduit : -

At the occasion of the new edition of Paris Beaches, La Maison de Balzac leans towards representations of Parisians at leisure near or in the Seine. Many paintings lent by the great Parisian museums (Musée de Île de France et Musée Carnavalet) and forty of Daumier’s engravings issued from the museum’s graphic funds, evoque humorously the place of the river in the leisure of the Francilians. “Daumier’s works are the complement to La Comedie Humaine,” wrote Baudelaire. And it is completely natural that at the Maison de Balzac we appreciate the best, this summer, Paris Beaches -- according to Daumier.

Because at the middle of the XIX century, everyone devoted themselves to canoeing, to fishing, to bathing in the first pools, the lively and savage river was perfectly equipped for all summer activities. Daumier, the kindly illustrator, underlined with a communicative jubilation the disappointments and the ridiculousness of being a human confronted by the water. Daumier’s heartless humor belongs just as well to the past as to the future, so much is universal: large stomachs, small legs, meagre arms, and sizes without end; grotesque positions of the learning swimmer or of the boater jolted by the waves; the vanity of some; the cowardice of others, enthusiasm and nonsense…

The city of the Grand Palais was founded 1 January 2016, and the Seine formed the axis of perspectives of extension that based itself on the development of river transport. The possibilities presented by this water course for sports and leisure did not seem to be at the heart of the preoccupations. The reflection of the possibility for pleasure that the river offers remains mostly open.
For comparison, could we look at the works of Daumier like a trait of the link between yesterday and today?

Commissariat : Yves Gagneux, conservateur de la Maison de Balzac