Ratapoil, Honoré Daumier
Honoré Daumier
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Honoré Daumier

Ratapoil, 1851 (casting 1925 – 1929)

44.7 x 17 x 19 cm
Physical Description
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1970 with a donation by Helmut and Hedwig Goedeckemeyer
On display, Department of Prints and Drawings Exhibition Gallery


About the Work

Ratapoil's clothing is ragged and torn, but his pose is exaggeratedly elegant. The body of the figure seems to have become a victim of the representation of this discrepancy. This caricature of a type was politically highly controversial at the time. It shows an agent of the unofficial police troops which Louis Napoléon employed in the mid-nineteenth century in his fight for the French imperial crown. At a time in which the medium of sculpture was still strongly influenced by Classicism, Daumier created with his statuette a key work of modern sculpture which already heralds the twentieth-century trends towards abstraction and the dissolution of form.

About the Acquisition

Immediately after World War I, the art connoisseur and bibliophile Helmut Goedeckemeyer (1898–1983) began amassing one of the largest collections of prints by Käthe Kollwitz. He supplemented these holdings with works of late nineteenth-century French and German printmaking, illustrated books by Max Slevogt, Alfred Kubin and others, and small-scale sculptures by such artists as Aristide Maillol. His collection ultimately encompassed more than 5,000 works. Goedeckemeyer’s close ties to the Städel Museum date back to the 1920s. From 1959 onwards, he and his wife Hedwig were members of the Städelscher Museums-Verein (Städel Museum Association). The City of Frankfurt acquired his Kollwitz collection for the Städtische Galerie (Municipal Gallery) in 1964. He made several gifts to the Städel collection of prints and drawings over the years, and in 1970 presented the museum with Honoré Daumier’s “Ratapoil” (inv. no. St.P391).


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