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Cost of Living in Daumier's Time


 

 

Compiled by L. & D. Noack since 1999. Last updated: July 14, 2012

 

 

SOME NOT TOO SERIOUS OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE COSTS OF EVERYDAY LIFE IN 19TH CENTURY PARIS.

 

Literature often mentions that Daumier was a relatively poor man, who followed Corot’s advice that an artists should always have debts in order to really be appreciated by his surrounding. (According to K.E. Maison, p.39, it was Balzac who gave Daumier this advice.) This opinion has been well documented by Cherpin in his publication "Le dernier cahier de comptes de Daumier." Revue Municipal nr. 29 pp 34-38 and 40-41, Marseille Mai-Juillet 1956. This booklet shows Daumier’s handwritten expenses and shows also how much he received from Le Charivari for each print (see also B. Laughton "Honoré Daumier". Yale University Press, New Haven 1996).

 

Surprisingly, the amount of money Daumier received each month over a long period of his life when working for Le Charivari should have allowed him quite a comfortable life. You will find a list of some daily goods sold in Paris during that time. These prices have been either taken from Cherpin’s observation, or from the captions of Daumier’s own lithographs or, at a later stage directly from the advertisements published in Le Charivari.

 

Taking into account that Daumier, apart from his lithographs, also sold wood engravings as well as drawings and paintings during the later part of his life, it seems difficult to identify what Daumier did with his income. Maybe one day, a research paper will enlighten us all about the spending habits of Daumier. We might be able to find out why he ended up in financial difficulties and poverty despite of his fairly sufficient funds.

 

Thierry Lefrançois published in 1982 (Flammarion) his research based on Cherpin's account books. On page 5 he calculated that since 1830 Daumier received 40 francs for each of the 4'000 lithographs and 20 francs for each of the 1'000 wood engravings. Looking at the period between 1835 and 1845 his monthly income amounted to 300-600 francs which was almost 5 to 10 times the average income of a worker. For his drawings he received until 1872 between 100 and 500 francs, and for his oil paintings between 1000 and 1500 francs. Lefrançois suggests that the reason for the notorious shortage of funds in the Daumier household may have been due to the fact that he generously supported his parents as well as the extensive family of his wife during all of his active life.


 

 

 

YEAR

PRICE IN FRANCS

PRODUCT

 

1835

0.50

price for 1 pound of tobacco

 

1835

50.00

monthly subscription for La Caricature

 

1835

0.30

unlimited bus ride in town

 

 

 

 

1836

72.00

annual subscription for Le Charivari

 

 

 

 

1837

45.00

price for the Album Caricaturana, containing 80 plates in black and white

 

1837

55.00

price for the Album Caricaturana, containing 80 plates in colour

 

1837

1.50

prix fixe dinner (two main courses, dessert and a pitcher of wine)

 

 

 

 

1838

30.00

monthly salary for an unskilled worker

 

 

 

 

1839

32.00

price for the Album Les Moeurs Conjugales, containing 60 lithographs

 

1839

800.00

Complete collection of Le Charivari from 1/1/1832 to 12/31/1838: 12 volumes

 

1839

0.75

Portraits of politicians, which appeared in Le Charivari (price per print)

 

 

 

 

1840

40.00

payment which Daumier received for each lithograph supplied to Aubert

 

1840

5.00

payment which Huart, Jaime, Biais etc. received for each text supplied to Aubert

 

 

 

 

1841

9.00

price for the Album Physionomies Tragico-Classiques, containg 15 lithographs

 

1841

7.50

rent for a costume ball outfit

 

 

 

 

1842

0.05

price of 0.25 litres of milk

 

1842

2.00

price of one "vol au vent"

 

1842

0.20

ticket to the public baths on the Seine

 

1842

3.00

price for a (natural) sponge

 

1842

2.00

Train ticket 1st class Paris-Orléans

 

1842

1.50

Train ticket 2nd class Paris-Orléans

 

1842

1.00

Train ticket 3rd class Paris-Orléans (without roof!)

 

1842

0.20

admission to the "better", private bathing houses

 

1842

0.10

admission to the public bathing houses

 

1842

60'000

Madame Dorus-Gras, who was probably the best singer and actress during this period, earned this amount per year.

 

1842

75'000

Madame Slotz, an equally famous actress, received this amount per year for her performance in “Rosine”.

 

 

 

 

1843

12.50

price for the Album Les Canotiers de Paris

 

1843

7.50

price for the Album Les Chemins der Fer

 

 

 

 

1844

100'000

paid to Eugene Sue for 10 series of "Le Juif Errant"

 

1844

0.25

price for one cigar of the type Caillou

 

 

 

 

1845

0.30

insurance fee covering train accidents within 400 km distance

 

1845

5.00

address list of all 20'000 doctors and pharmacists (La France Médicale)

 

 

 

 

1846

60.00

annual subscription for Le Charivari, advertisement and number of subscribers reduced the costs

 

 

 

 

1848

0.05

toll for crossing the "pont des Arts" bridge

 

1848

45.00

monthly income of an unskilled worker

 

1848

35.00

Train ticket 1st class Paris-London

 

1848

25.00

Train ticket 2nd class Paris-London

 

 

 

 

1849

25.00

daily allowance paid to the members of Parliament

 

 

 

 

1850

2.50

an inexpensive "prix fixe menu"

 

1850

25.00

a full menu at a luxury restaurant

 

1850

50.00

monthly fees for private school

 

1850

200.00

courses for the preparation to the highschool exam (without any guarantee!)

 

 

 

 

1851

50.00

price of a winter coat (paletot)

 

 

 

 

1851

19.00

price of a pair of satin trousers (white!)

 

1851

400'000.00

value of a gold bar (lingot)

 

 

 

 

1852

5.00

special summer discount train ticket from Paris to the sea

 

1852

1.50

one pound of chocolate

 

1852

2.90

special sale of Venetian shirts

 

1852

12.50

special sale of 12 napkins (regular price: 18.00)

 

1852

1.00

admission to the Salon in Paris (art exhibit)

 

 

 

 

1853

0.15

bus ride on the "Imperial" in Paris

 

 

 

 

1854

0.30

bus trip in Paris

 

1854

0.20

100 letter envelopes

 

1854

1.00

1 bottle of anti flu medicine

 

1854

450.00

price for a good piano

 

1854

1'000.00

premium offered by "Eau Parisienne", if your freckles don't disappear

 

1854

6.00

price for the Album "Chargeons Les Russes"

 

1854

3.00

Skin lotion for blondes and brunettes

 

 

 

 

1855

0.20

admission ticket to the world-exhibit

 

1855

60.00

a new hand-tailored ladies dress

 

1855

13.40

monthly subscription for the London Times

 

1855

21.40

3 months subscription for the Bruxelles Independance

 

1855

6.50

3 months subscription for the Köln Gazette

 

1855

0.75

Advertisement per line in Le Charivari

 

1855

3.50

Pen Rossini (with portrait of the famous musician)

 

 

 

 

1856

150.00

one barrel = 114-136 liters (une feuillette) of good Bordeaux wine

 

1856

250.00

a one week trip Paris-London, all included

 

1856

8.50

men's jacket on sale (regular price: 29 Fr)

 

1856

12.00

Glass and monocles made of Brazilian crystal

 

1856

5'475.00

subscription for a box of 6 people for 6 months at the Théatre Italien in Paris

 

1856

507.00

subscription for 2 seats in the 4th tier at the Théatre Italien

 

 

 

 

1857

5.00

100 pills against obesity

 

1857

1.00

admission for one day to speculate at the stock exchange. Annual subscription 175 Fr.

 

1858

106.00

= $ 20. Price for a bond and stock offer for US railroad from New York to Galveston to Mexico. Advertisement au verso of DR 3041 of April 30, 1858

 

1859

3.00

a bottle of hair tonic (success not guaranteed)

 

 

 

 

1860

16.00

annual subscription to the bi-weekly "Horticulturist"

 

 

 

 

1861

1.00

admission to the Zoo-Botanical Gardens

 

1861

0.50

one bottle of inferior wine

 

1861

8'000.00

annual rent of a house close to the Champs-Elysées

 

 

 

 

1862

10.00

medical treatment of "secret diseases" (success guaranteed!)

 

 

 

 

1864

1.00

a small glass of "eau de vie" (hard liquor)

 

1864

12.00

Train return ticket 2nd class Paris-Le Havre

 

1864

68.20

Train ticket in 1st class for a journey of 15 hours from Paris to Berne, Switzerland (51 francs in 2nd class, 38 francs in 3rd class)

 

1865

3.00

small advertisements in Le Charivari

 

1865

45.00

stay in a private hospital for 8 days

 

1865

1.50

light lunch on Montmartre

 

1865

250.00

Daumier's rent per year for the house in Valmondois

 

1865

5'000.00

Buying price for Daumier's house in Valmondois (option mentioned in the leasing contract).

 

 

 

 

1866

0.15

short bus trip in Paris

 

 

 

 

1867

24.00

12 silver plated coffee spoons

 

 

 

 

1868

46.00

12 silver plated knives

 

1868

1.50

one bottle of eau de toilette (also used by the Emperor)

 

 

 

 

1870

15'000.00

annual allowance for a senator

 

 

 

 

1871

30'000.00

annual allowance for the same senator a year later

 

 

 

 

1879

0.50

an edition of the Almanachs du Charivari

 

 

 


 

 




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