The Nightmare (Le Cauchemar)

Honore Daumier (1808-79), Le Cauchemar, lithograph, 1832, plate 139, published in La Caricature. Daumier Register 41, first state (of 2). In compromised condition, trimmed at the top to the line of the illustration; with various repairs, toning and fox marks, although the matix is perfectly legible. The sheet 10 5/8 x 14 inches.

A sur blanc impression; a rare print.

Here’s a summary background description from the Daumier Register:

The print shows General Lafayette, known hero of the Polish and American wars of independence. His portrait brings to mind a painting by Ary Scheffer from 1822. This lithograph represents General Lafayette with a pear on his stomach (Louis-Philippe), causing a nightmare.

This print shows the uncomfortable feeling which Lafayette nourished by helping King Louis-Philippe to power (it is only later that he will distance himself from the King and the July Revolution). In his right hand, he holds the revolutionary “Programme de l’hotel de ville”, which he was supposed to present to the King but never did.

It is the first time that a print in La Caricature presents the King in the shape of a pear. Philipon had used this symbol previously in a lithograph on Nov. 24, 1831.

The pear as trademark for King Louis-Philippe stands for stupidity and simplemindedness.