Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College

The Human Comedy: Chronicles of 19th-Century France

Home / Content / L'acteur des Funambules
L'acteur des Funambules

L'acteur des Funambules

Honoré Daumier (French, 1808–1879) L'acteur des Funambules (The Actor of the Funambules), 1842 Lithograph General Acquisitions Fund, 1944.189.6

A penniless actor makes his way past the ticket line to the stage door of the Théâtre des Funambules, where he will soon have to act in a passionate love scene—on an empty stomach. The Théâtre des Funambules was located in a once bustling theater district partly demolished during Haussmann’s renovation of Paris. Originally popular for its acrobatic and tightrope acts, the Théâtre des Funambules is best known as the home of Pierrot, the sad clown figure developed from the traditional commedia dell’arte character by the world-famous pantomime artist Jean-Gaspard Deburau.

— En v'là un temps qui vous rend passionné ! et tout à l'heure va falloir être brûlant d'amour en turc ... et dire "ô Zuléma part-age mes trésors et mon trône ... viens, viens t'enivrer dans les plaisirs et l'abondance !" avec un sou de pommes de terre frites dans le ventre !

—This is some weather to get you fired up! In a few minutes I'll have to play a Turk burning with love and exclaim, 'O Zuleika, share my treasure and my throne; come, come drink to the full of pleasure and abundance! And all that with just a penny’s worth of fried potatoes in my belly!