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Honoré Daumier's career was one of the most unusual in the history of nineteenth-century art. Famous in his time as France's best-known caricaturist, he remained unrecognized in his actual stature--as one of the period's most profoundly original and wide-ranging realists. Even today, his essential quality may not be fully understood; the marvels of his pictorial inventions are half-hidden in the profusion of his enormous lithographic work, the sharp truths of his observation overshadowed by his comic genius and penchant for monumental stylization. Honoré Balzac's remark, "There is a lot of Michelangelo in that fellow," was perceptive, though probably made in a spirit of friendly condescension.