Past Exhibitions

Pierre‑Nolasque Bergeret, Les musards de la rue du Coq (The Dawdlers of the Rue du Coq), ca. 1804. Hand-colored lithograph. Yale University Art Gallery, Everett V. Meeks, B.A. 1901, Fund

Seriously Funny: Caricature through the Centuries

  • September 14, 2018–January 27, 2019
Seriously Funny: Caricature through the Centuries celebrates the Yale University Art Gallery’s recent acquisition of several important 19th-century French satirical lithographs. The exhibition contextualizes these prints within the larger comedic tradition in Europe and America, demonstrating the enduring appeal and impact of visual humor through a selection of prints, drawings, paintings, and sculpture from the 16th to the 21st century. Distinguished by a sense of levity and immediacy, caricature has traditionally been considered inferior to fine art but has been used for centuries by classically trained artists as a vehicle to engage with subjects that are familiar and accessible. The witty works included in Seriously Funny trace the development of the genre from its inception as a studio exercise to its pointed use in highlighting human foibles and, finally, to its disruptive role as an instrument of political critique.
Exhibition made possible by the Wolfe Family Exhibition and Publication Fund. Organized by Rebecca Szantyr, the former Florence B. Selden Senior Fellow, Department of Prints and Drawings.