Un Monsieur au Dessous de Ses Affaires (A Man Whose Affairs Have Gone Awry)

Daumier - A Man Whose Affairs Have Gone Awry


Honore Daumier (1808-1879), Un Monsieur au dessous de ses affaires, lithograph, 1841, published in LA CARICATURE (Deuxième Publication) in 1842, Daumier Register 718, fourth state (of five), before the name of Aubert is removed.  Plate number 34 from the series ÉMOTIONS PARISIENNES.  With the initials HD lower left. A  sur blanc impression. In good condition, a slight tear right margin expertly repaired, slight evidence of fox marks, with margins, 11 x 7 3/4, the sheet 13 x 9 7/8 inches.

A fine impression of this famous image. Un Monsieur was the cover image of the Daumier Centenary Tribute published by Pratt Graphics Center, in part surely because it is assumed that Daumier portrayed himself in this portrait.

Interestingly, the apparent crack in the stone, or possibly an inking flaw to the left of the figure was present in the print even in the first state before letters.

Here is what the wonderful Daumier Register  (we’re all indebted to Lilian and Dieter Noack for this) tells us about this print:

According to old reports, Daumier borrowed 110 Francs on July 28 from Monsieur Braconneau. On February 18, 1842 he repaid 50 francs. Consequently part of his furniture was seized and auctioned off on April 13, 1842. Provost suggests that Daumier might have drawn himself in this print.

“Mont-de-Piété” is an expression still used in today’s French (it is also the name of a street in Paris) meaning “Pawnbroker”.

ABOUT THE MONT-DE-PIÉTÉ. “The first Mont-de-Piété was created in Italy in 1462 by religious institutions. It was created in France a first time in 1637 – but it closed just for 7 years after the opening – then it re-opened in 1777, in Le Marais – a central district of Paris. The institution still exists today, though it changed its name in 1918 to adopt the new name of Crédit Municipal de Paris. The location has remained the same for 234 years.” (Agnès Colas des Francs, 2011)

“A mount of piety was an institutional pawnbroker run as a charity in Europe from the later Middle Ages times to the 20th century, more often referred to in English by the relevant local term, such as monte di pietà (Italian), mont de piété (French), or monte de piedad (Spanish). Similar institutions were established in the colonies of Catholic countries; the Mexican Nacional Monte de Piedad is still in operation.”