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Honoré Victorin Daumier. 1808-1879.

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Les augures de la diplomatie n'osant ouvrir l'oiseau-Prussien pour savoir à quoi s'en tenir.
(The augures of diplomacy, don't dare to open the Prussian bird, to find what it might contain.)

1867. Lithograph. Hazard 3965.i/i (with letters). RARE. Not in Delteil. 10 1/8 x 9 (sheet 11 1/2 x 11 5/16). Series: Actualités, (News of the Day), plate 179. Published in Le Charivari October 3, 1867. Text: lower left: Lith. Destouches, r. Paradis Pre.28; lower right: Vresse Edr. rue du Rivoli 55. Center vertical fold and minor water stains on the left. Initialed in the stone, lower right. This is a one of Daumier's rare and notable images. $300.

The augur was a priest and official in the classical world, especially ancient Rome and Etruria. His main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of the birds (whether they are flying in groups/alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of birds they are), known as "taking the auspices." The ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society--public or private--including matters of war, commerce, and religion. Here Daumier satirized the politicians regarding their predictions about Prussian military behavior.

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