Passing of a Poodle


Honore Daumier (1808-1879), Le Trepas du Caniche, lithograph, 1840. Reference: Delteil 651. Plate 28 from Moeurs Conjugales. [initialed in the plate, and with the inscription, name of publisher, seller.] Third state of three, after removal of the address of Aubert; a sur blanc impression (no newprint verso). On cream wove paper, pale light staining overall, tear upper right and bottom margins (not affecting image), light foxing verso, mounted in acid free mats, 10 x 8, the sheet 13 1/2 x 10 inches.

A very good impression.

The sur blanc impressions of this print were taken apart from the large run for the letterpress (the prints appeared in the journal Le Charivari). The sur blancs were printed on better paper than the newsprint impressions, and there’s no newprint interfering with the image (as in the newpaper impressions). The size of the edition varied, but is likely to have been around 100-150; the sur blanc edition was for collectors of Daumier lithographs.

As the older woman bemoans the passing of her poodle (she calls him “pauvre zozore”), her husband comforts her saying he too is heartbroken, and that we are all mortal (“que veux tu nous sommes tous mortels”). The woman at the back, standing over “zozore,” appears not to empathize with these emotions (and one suspects the husband isn’t very upset either).

Here, from the invaluable online Daumier Register (see my eBay Guide on this resource) is the full commentary and translation:

Le trépas du caniche.
Oh mon Dieu, mon Dieu, est il possible!…. pauvre zozore, ma joie, ma consolation, je ne le verrai plus!…. ah! je vois que je n’y survivrai pas. – Malheureuse épouse! comme le tien mon cœur est navré. Viens sur mon sein nous confondrons nos larmes. Hélas! que veux tu: nous sommes tous mortels!

The Demise of the Poodle.
– Oh my God, my God, is it possible?…. my poor Zozore, my joy, my consolation, I shall never see him again… ah! I shan’t survive.
– Wretched wife! like yours, my heart is saddened. Come to my bosom and we shall mingle our tears. Alas, what can we do… we are all mortal!