While wandering through an antique store in Provincetown, Massachusetts in 2006, a squatty little man caught my eye. I knew nothing about him or who made him, the name scrawled on the side of the figure ineligible and the features were not distinct. I brought him home, where he sat next to a stack of old legal books until a trip to Paris.

Walking through the Musée d’Orsay with my family, we entered a small room filled with little sculptures just like the tiny man who kept guard over my books. My statue was in fact a reproduction of a French master. Thus began my appreciation of Honoré Daumier.

Daumier, born today February 26 in 1808, lived until 1879. He was famous for his caricatures of French society and Napoleonic imperialism of the 19th century. He began as a lithographer and printmaker later moving to sculpting and painting. He broke away from the categories that existed and is applauded today, whether in French museums or on display in my bedroom.