History And Context

For Duncan Phillips, the jewel of his unit of works by Honoré Daumier was The Uprising. When this long forgotten painting appeared on the market, Phillips seized the opportunity to acquire it. His admiration led him to speak of the work in superlatives, and on more than one occasion he referred to it as the “greatest picture in the Collection.”

The Uprising was probably inspired by the revolution of 1848, which saw the overthrow of Louis-Philippe’s monarchy. In The Uprising Daumier expressed the fervor of revolution through his manipulation of compositional and pictorial elements. Daumier compressed the crowd by introducing the vertical wall to the right and the dark shadows on the left , massing the figures and thereby heightening the explosive quality of the scene and transforming it, according to Phillips, into a “symbol of all pent up human indignation.”