art, law, liberty

lawya art: daumier’s people of justice – le gens de justice



Kudos for the Miniature Lawyer’s Library “Lawyer” an Artisan Handmade Miniature in 12th scale made by Mariangela Gagliardi of CosediunaltroMondo Doll’House and Miniatures in Milano, Italy.

This particular library in miniature is created in an old typesetter drawer called “Bodoni” which was used to contain small letters used for printing. Precious gift for professional lawyers.  Handmade in a single piece, containing about 120 books and old objects. Size 54 x 44 x 5 cm. deep.  Materials used: Old wooden typesetter drawer, fabric, paper, resin.





It’s all in the detail.  A well stocked lawyer’s library would generally include law books, cases, statutes & old tomes as well as a wide variety of books from other genres.  Here you see the law books, the lawyer’s robe, a scrolled legal document, perhaps a brief, tied with pink ribbon, some certificates & awards, a lap top, a typewriter & legal themed art on the back walls featuring some caricatures by Honore Daumier.

Monsieur Daumier? Daumier is one of my best-loved French artists who, for a long time, was the unsung hero of French art especially law themed art.

He was a caricaturist, painter & sculptor whose many works offer commentary on social & political life in France in the 19th century.

Honoré Balzac’s remark, “There is a lot of Michelangelo in that fellow,” was perceptive, though probably made in a spirit of friendly condescension.  Biography Daumier



This lithograph of Daumier’s Gargantua (1831), a caricature of Louis Phillipe 1 King of the French from 1830 to 1848, was a part of his

…. pictorial campaign of satire, targeting the foibles of the bourgeoisie, the corruption of the law and the incompetence of a blundering government. His caricature of the king as Gargantua led to Daumier’s imprisonment for six months at Sainte Pelagie in 1832.


But have you seen Daumier’s Law, a brilliant animated short film based on Daumier’s art work by Paul and Linda McCartney?

If you’re even a little bit interested in criminal law & justice, in punishment, right & wrong, in mercy, forgiveness, morality & ethics you will appreciate my enthusiasm.  And note the haunting music … and here’s the link to Paul McCartney’s “Daumier’s Law” Film including:







About Paul McCartney’s “Daumier’s Law” or the story behind it. Brian Peterson Nov 26 1993:  This article was written by Mark Lewisohn for Club Sandwich in the Summer of 1992. In order to save myself some typing I will excerpt and paraphrase a little bit. Any mistakes are mine.

Paul McCartney is about to surprise us all once again. Over the last 4 years he’s been putting together a short film animating the work of 19th Century artist Honore Daumier, and recording what the public will perceive as some very un McCartney like music for it.

The film is Daumier’s Law. Brought to you by the team behind Rupert and The Frog Song. Paul, Linda, and director of animation Geoff Dunbar. For too long Honore Daumier has been an unsung hero, a clear but usually overlooked influence over artists such as Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso. Daumier’s Law will ensure that his work finally receives the attention it merits.

Linda was the first to be enthused by Daumier – back in her school days. “I went through all periods of different painters and along the way there were several that grabbed me including Daumier. He was very satirical about the different classes and fantastic at capturing people’s characters.”

In 1988 Paul found himself with the time, while preparing for the Tour, to record some experimental music. It wasn’t meant for the film, that came only after the music was completed.

“I wanted to get into some minimalist music so I came to the studio and started trying to think of very simple pieces, based around the theme of injustice. I got intrigued by the idea of thinking ‘how few notes coul I use, then?’

You start off thinking of just one note and then you embellish it a bit, trying to keep in the back of your mind to be as minimal as possible. And in the end I think I abandoned the idea of minimalism and just got into this slightly experimental music.” Soon the two projects came together.

“I went through every drawing he ever did and really got involved,” Linda says, “I got every book on Daumier and read all about his life and thought that it would be incredible to do a visual thing for Paul’s music. Daumier worked for a newspaper as a satirical cartoonist and went to prison a few times for his Art. A lot of his work was about injustice and it’s a theme that is so right for our times.”

“I did about 20 minutes of music.” adds Paul, “then Linda and I were looking at some Daumier drawings, so we hooked up the idea of injustice with my musical pieces, came up with the idea for the film and called Geoff.”

“Paul and Linda called and asked if I would like to make a film on Daumier and I said yes,” recalls Geoff Dunbar, “Before Rupert came along I had made a film on Toulouse-Lautrec so the Daumier idea was very exciting.”

“Paul did six pieces of music and they each had a title – Right, Wrong, Justice, Punishment, Payment, and Release. Then we pored through the works of Daumier, got everything that was available, and structured the story from the material. And where we had to link it we invented ‘in the style of’.

We hung the story on one character, a man from one drawing by Daumier.”The injustice theme is skillfully put across during the 15 minute film, with our Mr. Average wrongfully accused, wrongfully arrested, wrongfully convicted in a particularly powerful courtroom scene (Act 3: Justice), cruelly punished, forced to pay dues and then, at last, expelled by the tyrannical system, free to rediscover artistic beauty in his midst. “It’s all topical stuff ,” comments Dunbar, “It’s a heroic tale I suppose.

He goes through the system and comes out in rags, he’s lost all his worldly possessions and his dignity but regains them at the end by finding beauty and music.”The most visually stunning section occurs in Act 5 (Payment), when Daumier’s remarkable Gargantua, drawn in 1832, is brought to life. Depicting the great pear-head of Louis XIV [should read: Louis-Philippe] and his swallowing up of ordinary people and their riches, it was a drawing for which Daumier was fined and imprisoned by the French government …. Films & Broadcast – Daumier


Daumier’s Law – The Paul McCartney Project – Soundtrack Sessions


SUMMARY: A man is wrongfully arrested for murder and put through the punishing legal system.WHY IT’S HERE: Geoff Dunbar had previously worked with Paul and Linda McCartney on the lovely ‘Rupert and the Frog Song’ but their next collaboration was a very different beast indeed. Based on an idea by the McCartneys, ‘Daumier’s Law’ brings to life the lithographs of French caricaturist and social commentator Honore Daumier and tells the gruelling tale of a man wrongfully arrested and subjected to an unforgiving legal system. In sharp contrast with the bright colours of ‘Rupert and the Frog Song’, ‘Daumier’s Law’ is rendered in harsh black and white, the style maintaining the style of Daumier’s original work and featuring many of his famous symbolist images, such as the money-gobbling Gargantua. ‘Daumier’s Law’ is divided into 6 short acts, each of which is accompanied by atmospheric experimental music by Paul McCartney. The fifteen minute film is a powerfully satirical work which is testament to the diverse talents of both Dunbar and McCartney. Daumier’s Law – Animated Shorts





On using the image of a pear in political caricature as in the above lithograph by Berquet (1833):

Unperturbed by legislation which made it illegal to use the pear to mock or ridicule the king, artists continued to use the image as a symbol of political resistance against the Orléanist Regime and against authority in general. Shown here is a hand-colored lithograph by Bouquet, a regular contributor to the journal. The artist depicts Louis-Philippe as a pear with two of his ministers, d’Agoult and Barthe. Berquet, “Les Favoris de La Poire,” La Caricature, 21 March 1833.

Law Caricatures by Daumier

La caricature politique : Honoré Daumier


Daumier – the Michelangelo of Caricature


Masthead for La Caricature, Number 1: November 4, 1830 Premiere Issue. Here, the French Quarter Mag gives a  short history La Caricature in France.


Two Lawyers


Two lawyers in Court


Le defenseur (The Defense Attorney)

Lawyers and characters of the Parisian court system constitute one of Daumier’s more consistent bodies of work and were favorite subjects since his youth (his first job was errand boy to a bailiff). In Paris his family lived opposite the Palais de Justice and the young Daumier used to visit the court and sketch the figures that populated it. Between 1832 and 1833 the artist spent six months in prison as a result of having caricatured King Louis-Philippe. This personal experience with the French judicial system inspired him to visit the courts more often afterwards, and for three years he amassed drawings and sketches of scenes from the tribunals that he re-used for more finished compositions later.

From these early sketches and memories, Daumier built a repertory which provided inspiration when later in his career he began to work for _Charivari_magazine which published his lithographs and especially the series Les Gens de Justice (1845-8) and Physionomies du Palais de Justice (1852). When in the 1860s the artist’s contract with Charivari was interrupted, Daumier concentrated on executing drawings for connoisseurs and collectors whose demand for these subjects was very strong. The French art critic and novelist Champfleury, a keen supporter of the work of Daumier, whom he repeatedly praised in his writings, is recorded as asking the artist, on behalf of a friend, for two drawings of tribunal scenes (Daumier 1808-1879, exhib. cat., op. cit., p. 447). Champfleury even took the liberty of specifying the subject of one of the drawings (it is not known whether the artist carried out the commission or not).


A Criminal Case – Daumier

The Opposing Lawyers – Daumier



‘Les Gens de Justice – Les beaux jours de la vie, un triomphe d’Avocat.’ The people of justice or the good days when a lawyer is triumphant. A court room scene with a victorious lawyer and his client. Daumier 1905


Great Caricatures – Daumier


Caricature de Daumier : Serie “Les Gens de justice” parue dans “Charivari” du 15/08/1845. Un avocat plaisant devant le tribunal qui dort. ©Selva/Leemage

From the series: Le Gens de Justice


Lawyer Pleading in Court


The Art and Works of Honore Daumier


At the Palace of Justice


Three Lawyers – Daumier between 1855 and 1857


Lawyers appear frequently in Daumier’s satires. Having been jailed for his political caricatures, the artist had ample opportunity to see lawyers at work. This trio’s upturned noses suggest an undeserved attitude of authority, and their theatrical poses and symmetrical arrangement underscore the artificiality of their conduct. The Frick Collection