Art Collections Online

The Heavy Burden

DAUMIER, Honore (1808 - 1879)

The Heavy Burden

Media: oil on panel

Size: 39.7 x 32.2 cm

Acquired: 1952; Bequest; Gwendoline Davies

Accession Number: NMW A 3891

Collection: The Davies Sisters Collection

The Heavy Burden’ refers not simply to the bundle carried by the woman but also to the child at her side, as if they are all she possesses. The pair’s desperate appearance and the sombre mood are typical of the social commentary Daumier often conveyed in his works. He made a number of changes to this image. Originally the figures were viewed from behind.


Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
6 January 2015, 09:12

Update: Collections Assistant Gareth Thomas responded with the following

"Daumier did make several versions of this subject matter and would often revisit compositions that were of interest to him multiple times.  Sarah Symons who wrote Daumier 2004, noted that the subject may have been close to his heart as “this woman and child spilled over into five paintings, a sculptured figure and some five known drawings.” In particular the work that we have on display here is a watercolour on paper that has been reworked in oils which perhaps illustrates this point.  One notable difference between the version on display here and that at the Hermitage Collection is that our lady figure is wearing a headscarf."

I hope this solves the mystery, Lyn, and thanks for getting in touch.


Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
6 January 2015, 09:12

Dear Lyn Kelly, thanks for your intriguing enquiry! I'll pass it onto a colleague in the art department and will update this comment when they respond.


Lyn Kelly
5 January 2015, 19:55
Hi, I am watching a documentary on the hermitage museum Russia. It states that Daumiers the burden is housed there but I saw it hanging in your museum . Are there more than one ?
Many thanks
Lyn ( Kelly)
Amgueddfa Cymru Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
20 December 2011, 09:24
Dear Paul, Please see our Print on Demand pages for information on print sales.
Thank you for your interest in Amgueddfa Cymru
paul meredith
17 December 2011, 06:04
do you sell a print of this painting? If so, what sizes and what cost.
Daumier...the heavy burden
Comments are currently unavailable. We apologise for the inconvenience.
Back to Art Collections Online homepage

Browse artists

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z All Other

Browse makers and designers

Browse by letter:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z All