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.