The Daumier Register Digital Work Catalogue
DR Number 131
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Background Details
Alex Djordjevic and other researchers have in close collaboration with the Daumier-Register over the last years compiled a large number of recent findings in the field of Daumier research. We are happy to introduce you to these results and conclusions regarding this Daumier print DR Number 131. If you wish to see the complete list of the newest research results of other prints, please go to New Research Results. The information is constantly updated and completed.
The above mentioned article to DR131 has been written by ADA ACKERMAN

DR131 is together with 133, 134, and 135 one of the most important graphical works of Daumier. It might be interesting to know more about the subtitle “chambre improstituée”. Most likely, Armand Marrast, editor of “La Tribune” was responsible for this expression. According to Louis Blanc, he wrote in his newspaper: “… oh, how we are being cheated and ridiculed by this prostituted chamber.” He was referring to the readiness of this assembly to surround Paris with a fortification against dangers from outside and inside. The Chamber accused La Tribune, a trial lost by the newspaper. The expression of the “chambre improstituée” remained. Philipon took advantage of this new phrase and used it for the “Ventre législatif”.

This print is an exact reproduction of the legislative Chamber of 1834. Its members are shown in a satirical form and most of them have been reproduced separately by Daumier at an earlier date. They are now all reunited in a theatre-like setting, representing the immobility, absurdity, and hollowness of the political system of the period. Once the caricaturist first impression has worn off, the viewer is shocked about being confronted with the representatives of a political power which seems to lack the moral and ethical qualifications to responsibly govern a nation. This print together with “Rue Transnonain” (DR 135) can be considered as foreshadowing the upcoming change to a new form of Realism in Art.

While the masks of DR42 represented only the opening shot against the government, the present print was a full blown attack against the entire political system under Louis-Philippe. This print was not meant for publication in the magazine, but rather to be sold separately. It shows a self-indulging and arrogant collection of representatives, who are fully aware of their privileges and powers, far detached from the daily problems of the people they should be representing. Artistically it is a fascinating work: Daumier managed to squeeze all 35 members of the Assembly into 4 semicircular rows of Assembly benches without overloading the appearance of the print - a problem which Grandville had not been able to master in one of his works. This print is not just a document of the time but it also is of greatest artistic value.

It may be of interest to know that the Russian movie director Eisenstein, an ardent admirer of Daumier’s oeuvre, was planning to use DR131 and DR86 in his film version of Marx’s “Das Kapital”, a project which, however, was never realized (see A. Ackerman in Pratiques sur l’Art nr. 20, Les Images mouvantes, 2009, pp 21-36) .

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has in their collection a special print one wove paper. It does not have the usual center fold, normally found in the edition of the “Association Mensuelle”. It originates from the G. Dechaume and L.J. Rosenwald collections.


On November 10, 1894 the Parisian satirical newspaper "Le Rire" published a reduced version of this print in their edition. This cannot be considered an original lithograph.

The New York Times Book Review of Aug. 21, 1932 features a photograph of Le Ventre Législatif for their article "The Rule of the Mass Mind", A Leader of Modern Spain Discusses Our Present Dilemma.

Buyer beware: there exists a modern reprint of DR131, which is not a lithograph. We are showing a photograph of this reproduction. On the lower left outside of the illustration the number "2" is printed.

The personalities shown are as follows (starting at the lower row from left to right):

GUIZOT, François Pierre Guillaume (1787-1874), Minister holding several portfolios
PERSIL, (1785-1870) Attorney General
THIERS, Adolphe (1797-1877) Minister
BARTHE, Félix (1795-1867) Vice President of the Chamber
SOULT, Nicolas (1769-1853) General (acc. to Rosenthal this should be de BROGLIE)
D'ARGOUT, Comte Antoine Marie Apollinaire (1782-1858) President of the Central Bank
PRUNELLE, Clément (1774-1853) Professor in Medicine and Deputy, Mayor of Lyons
FULCHIRON, Jean-Claude (1774-1831) Deputy
GALTIER, Henri, Comte de Rigny, (1782-1835) Minister of the Navy
PODENAS, Joseph Baron de (1782 - 1838) Deputy
HARLÉ, Père, Jean Marie (1763-1838) Deputy of the District of Calais
ROYER-COLLARD, Pierre Paul (1763-1845) Professor and Vice-President of the Chamber
ODIER, Antoine (1766-1853) Deputy and President of the Chamber of Commerce
FRUCHARD, of him no information is available
DELESSERT, Benjamin (1773-1847) Member of the Board of the Banque de France, Industrialist as well as Deputy of the districts of Maine and Loire.
KÉRATRY, Auguste Hilarion de (1769-1859) Philosopher and Deputy
Jolivet, Adolphe (1799-1848) Deputy. Killed during the Revolution of 1848
MONTALIVET, Marthe Camille, Comte de Bachasson (1800-1880) Minister of the Interior
BARBÉ-MARBOIS, François, Marquis de (1745-1837), Consul-General in the USA and responsible for the purchase of Lousiana
VIENNET, Jean Pons Guillaume (1777-1808) Military
SEBASTIANI, Comte Horace de (1772-1851) Foreign Minister.

THIERS, Marie Joseph Louis Adolphe (1797-1877) was a historian, politician, and President of France. In 1820, he started his career as a lawyer in Paris and in 1830, he was co-founder of the journal "Le National". He was appointed State Counsellor and State Secretary of Finance, became Minister of the Interior in 1832 and was a member of the Académie Française. During his period as Minister of the Interior in 1832, he was involved in the treaties regarding reparation payments to America. He became State Secretary and President of the Legislative Council in 1840. In 1848, he supported the monarchist movement of Louis-Napoléon and opposed the general election laws in 1850. He introduced new press regulations in July 1850. After a short exile in 1851, he returned to Paris in 1852 and was Deputy of the Seine district until 1863. He was re-elected into Government and was involved in the suppression of the Paris Commune in 1871. He reached the pinnacle of his political career in 1871 when he was appointed President of the Republic. In 1873, he retired from politics but still remained politically active. (For more information, go to: )

PERSIL, Jean Charles (1785-1870) was a lawyer, politician and Deputy from 1830 to 1839. He was appointed Attorney General and Minister of Justice in 1834. He actively participated in the suppression of the insurrections in Lyons and Paris in April 1834 and was one of the participants against the April defendants. He strongly supported Louis-Philippe and became director of the mint in 1848 and Senator in 1864. He was the great-grandfather of Dunoyer de Segonzac.

Apart from that, Persil was described as the classical example of an enemy of Liberty and the Free Press. He loathed the Charivari, and before that the Caricature, for their Republican, anti-monarchist views and attacked them without hesitation during his entire political career. This made him one of the most hated monarchist politicians. The restrictive censorship laws were named after him. La Caricature described him as “a descendant of a cannibal, brought back to Europe by Captain Cook”. Daumier portrayed him in his lithographs with a razor sharp long nose (similar to d’Argout’s nose in DR 48) and a cold, stern, somewhat distant expression. The model for this well-known lithograph of Persil was Daumier’s clay bust, which can be seen at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The bronze version is exhibited at the Hirshhorn Museum and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

D'ARGOUT, Antoine-Maurice-Apollinaire, Comte (1782-1858). His oversized nose made him a favourite subject of caricature. He was responsible for the bloody suppression of the silk weavers revolt in Lyons. Because of his tendency of verbal blunders, Daumier showed in his coat of arms a donkey's hat as synonym for his limited intelligence. The scissors represent his work as a theatre censor. D’Argout was a supporter of Louis XVIII in 1814 and became State Counsellor in 1819. He then supported Charles X and consequently Louis-Philippe who appointed him Minister of the Navy in 1830. He was later nominated Minister of Commerce and held the positions of Minister of Public Works and Culture in 1831. After a short period of 2 years as Secretary of the Interior (1834) and Governor of the French National Bank, he was appointed Minister of Finance in 1836. He managed to survive political changes and supported the new Empire under Napoleon III, followed by his nomination as Senator for life and Governor of the French National Bank.

An unpublished portrait of d'Argout is part of the Lecomte collection (see DR 4001).

BARBE DE MARBOIS, François, Marquis de (1745 – 1837) was Consul General in the United States and a stout supporter of the Monarchist system. Under NAPOLEON BONAPARTE he became Minister of Finance in 1801 and President of the Government Audit in 1808. He was a supporter of CHARLES X and later in 1830 of the future King LOUIS-PHILIPPE. He became notorious for his participation as a 90 year old judge in the political trials against the April defendants.

BARTHE, Félix (1795-1863) was Minister of Justice under Louis-Philippe. The fact that he was heavily cross-eyed made him a perfect objective for the caricaturists of his period who presented him as Justice blindfolded. Beyond that, Barthe was the ideal caricaturist’s prey of a monarchist politician: he was arrogant, had a false smile and showed a coarse demeanour.
He became Attorney General in 1830 and was Deputy of Paris. In 1831 he held the position as Minister of Public Education and became Minister of Justice in 1834, supporting the laws against Freedom of Press and political associations. He was nominated Senator in 1852.

DELESSERT, Benjamin (1773-1847) He was appointed Governor of the Banque de France, and being a liberal as well as Republican politician he was very involved in philanthropic work for the community. He was one of the representatives portrayed in the "Ventre Législatif". He promoted the abolition of the death penalty, hazardous games and lottery. Being an industrialist as well as a philanthropist, he bequeathed a large part of his fortune to 3000 workers, donating to each of them 50 francs.

DELESSERT’S name offered itself to a pun: The Charivari called him Dudessert. This excursion into the sweets department was in reality quite justified. During the British blockade of France, Delessert established in 1801 his own beet sugar producing refinery in Passy, thus making the area independent from sugar cane imports.

ETIENNE, Charles Guillaume (1777-1845) was an important journalist and author. He wrote the libretto for the opera “La Joconde” (music by Nicolo, 1814) and in 1811 became member of the Académie Française, an honour which was revoked in 1815. He served as a Deputy for his district Meuse from 1820 –1824 and again from 1827-1839. He was directing the paper “Le Constitutionnel”, preceding Véron, and was politically linked to Guizot.

FRUCHARD, Jean-Marie (1786-1872) was a magistrate and served as conservative Deputy of the Morbihan district from 1831-1834.

HARLÉ Père, Jean Marie (1765-1838) was a liberal politician opposing the government. He served with interruptions as a Deputy for Calais from 1816-1838. He was notorious for interrupting his speeches in Parliament and blowing his nose in a noisy manner. He had his roots in rural France and was repeatedly elected as a Deputy between 1815 and 1837. According to the Charivari, he consumed enormous quantities of tobacco (snuff), which resulted in heavy sneezing during parliamentary sessions. The size of his nose was in direct relation to his snuff-passion.
"Le gâteux", one of the titles of this sculpture, means "the senile".

GUIZOT, François Pierre Guillaume (1787 – 1874) was a philosopher and historian. In 1812, he became professor at the Sorbonne, was Deputy from 1830 to 1848, and held several ministerial positions between 1830 and 1848. He was generally disliked for his protestant strictness. Personally incorruptible, he ruled, according to Victor Hugo, by corruption. He was member of the Doctrinaires and worked closely with the Thiers and de Broglie governments between 1832 and 1836. From 1840 to 1848, he was Foreign Secretary and was exiled to England together with Louis-Philippe. In 1849, he wrote “De la Démocratie en France”.
......... read more about GUIZOT .

HUMANN, Jean Georges (1780-1842) was a banker and owned a trading company in Strasbourg. He became Deputy in 1832 and Finance Minister in 1832. He was peered in 1837 and held the post as Finance Minister until his death in 1842.

Jolivet, Thomas Marie Adolphe (1799-1848) was a Deputy from 1830-1839 and again from 1840-1848. Being a lawyer from background, he served as a private counsellor to the King. He was an ardent opponent of the emancipation of the blacks. He was found dead during the Revolt in Paris on February 24, 1848. (See also DR !)

KÉRATRY, Auguste Hilarion, Comte de (1769-1859) was a writer and liberal politician under the Restoration, later turning to the right and becoming a Deputy from 1818-1837. He was appointed State Counsellor in 1830 and was peered in 1837. Apart from his political ambitions, de Kératry was an ardent writer and publisher. Click here to see the first page of the chapter "Du beau absolu" of his book "Du beau dans les arts" (1822). As a consequence of his experience in the Arts, he was appointed as a member to control the royal theatres. Since he was considered to be good looking, Daumier portrayed him in his lithograph as a dandy. He also made a sculpture, described in Gobin nr. 4 with the title " L'Obséquieux" or the servile. Often the caricatures showed him as a buffoon.

LEFEBVRE, François Gilbert Jacques (1773-1856) was a banker and president of the Chamber of Commerce. He served as Deputy from 1827-46 and supported Louis-Philippe in 1830. Member of the National Bank and Vice president of the Savings Bank system.

ODIER, Antoine (1766-1853) was a banker of Swiss origin who became president of the Court of Commerce in Paris. He was a liberal republican Deputy for the Seine district from 1827 to 1837.

PATAILLE, Alexandre Simon (1781-1857) was a politician and Deputy from 1827 to 1834 and supported the Government of Louis-Philippe.

PELET de la LOZÈRE, Privat Joseph Claremont, Conte (1785-1871) was a Governor until 1823. Between 1827 and 1837, he was a Deputy and supported Louis-Philippe. He became Minister of Public Education in 1837 and Minister of Finance in 1840.

PODENAS, JOSEPH, Baron de (1782-1851) was described as an important but quite malicious politician. While in the beginning of his career he was still involved in the fall of Charles X and might be described as a liberal, he soon changed (in 1833) towards the right-wing and eventually supported the Government of Louis-Philippe. The Charivari described him as being “self-important” and egocentric. His proportions were an easy prey to Daumier's art: A rather formless head topped by a strange looking tuft of hair. Podenas was defeated in the elections of 1834 and lost his seat as Deputy for Narbonne, which he had held since 1829.

PRUNELLE, Gabriel (1777-1853) was a medical doctor and mayor of Lyons. From 1830 to 1839, he was a Deputy.

RIGNY, Henri Daniel Galtier, Comte de (1782-1835) was a politician, commander of the French fleet in 1827, and Vice-Commander in 1829. Between 1831 and 1834 he was Minister of the Navy and from 1834 to 1835 Foreign Minister.

ROYER-COLLARD, Pierre Paul (1763-1845) philosopher, lawyer and politician. He taught history and philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and was elected member of the Académie Française in 1827. Under Louis XVIII he became director of the library. In his function as a Deputy between 1815 and 1844, he proposed the new press laws. He was a liberal monarchist and supported Freedom of the Press in 1835. He gave up his political activities in 1838, however he kept his position as a Deputy until 1844.

Royer-Collard was also portrayed in the "Ventre Législatif". Daumier created a bronze bust of this parliamentarian (Fogg 29, Gobin, nr. 6).

SOULT, Nicolas Jean de Dieu (1769-1851) was Minister of War, Prime Minister, Duke of Dalmatia and Marshal under Napoléon I. His coat of arms showed the cross (connection to the church), the cockade (revolutionary activities), the hat (Napoleon) and the lily (the Bourbon kings). Soult managed to occupy prime positions in all governments.

BROGLIE, Achille Charles Léonce Victor, Duc de (1785 – 1870) was together with D’Argout one of the defending lawyers of Maréchal Ney. He was a diplomat, Government auditor, strictly adhering to the revolutionary aims of 1830. He became Minister of Public Education, was appointed State Secretary in 1832 and held the position of President of the Council from 1835 to 1836.

SEBASTIANI, Count Horace-François (1772-1852) a handsome man when still young and known as the Don Juan of the Empire. Daumier’s print of 1833 shows a rather elderly man, whose best days seem to lie behind him. According to the Charivari, the only quality left to him was his over developed self-esteem. A stout supporter of Napoleon, he was exiled and came back to France during the restoration of 1816. Because of his past however, he was put on half pay. He held several positions such as Deputy of Corsica, Minister of the Navy (1830), Ambassador to England (1835), Marshall of France in 1840, and General of the Army in 1848. He withdrew from political life in 1847 after the murder of his daughter. She had been killed by her husband, the Duke de Choiseul-Praslin, who had an affair with their baby sitter.

There exists a bronze bust made by Daumier, which is photographed in Gobin’s work catalogue under Nr. 19 with the title: "Le Fat" = the conceited.

VATOUT, Jean (1792-1848) was a historian, librarian, and politician. Under Louis-Philippe, he was a Deputy of the Charente from 1831 to 1848. He followed Louis-Philippe in his exile to England in 1848, where he died the same year.

VIENNET, Jean-Ponce-Guillaume (1777-1868) served as a young man in the Navy as well as the Army. After having been taken prisoner, he returned to France and became an officer after the restoration. He was promoted to Colonel under Louis-Philippe and started his political career as a Deputy from 1827 to 1837. He became Peer of France in 1839 and wrote several theatre plays. His literary style was quite opposed to the romantic writings of Victor Hugo. Being a personal friend of Louis-Philippe’s and one of the most influential politicians of his time, he was regularly caricatured by the liberal press.