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Caricature is a style of portrait that shows the personality of the sitter in an exaggerated, humorous manner. It is unusual to see a painting that literally is a caricature; however, many painters have created caricatures in pencil or crayon.
In Milan, Archimbaldo (1527-1593) composed humorous portraits of noble people, painting them as constructed out of fruit and vegetables. These were an early form of caricature. In England, James Gillray (1756-1815) was a leading English caricaturist in the days of George III and Napoleon. His style of exaggerating defining features of characters as well as social and political situations is an influence on caricature artists today.
Francisco Goya (1746-1828) was a leading caricaturist in Spain. His dark imagery shows the impact of the re-instatement of the Spanish Inquisition, and of years of war. In France, Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) were two social realist artists who captured personalities in painting in a caricature-influenced manner. Across the Atlantic, American caricaturist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) invented the elephant and donkey symbols for the two political parties.
Bonhams London sold a James Gillray etched caricature of Admiral Richard Earl Howe, "A French Hail Storm, -- or -- Neptune loosing sight of the Brest Fleet," 1793, for £1,250 on June 24, 2015
Doyle New York sold a collection of thirty caricatures by Vincenzo Zito (1900-1966) for $6,250 on September 16, 2014
Christie’s London sold a collection of 54 engraved political caricatures, including one by James Gillray, for £21,250 on June 9, 2015