As a painter, Daumier was one of the pioneers of realistic subjects, which he treated with a point of view critical of class distinctions.His paintings did not meet with success until 1878, a year before his death.
Baudelaire noted of him: l'un des hommes les plus importants, je ne dirai pas seulement de la caricature, mais encore de l'art moderne. (One of the most important men, not only, I would say, in caricature, but also in modern art.) Vincent van Gogh was also a great admirer of his work.
An exhibition of his works was held at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1901.
Daumier's works are found in many of the world's leading art museums, including the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rijksmuseum. He is celebrated for a range of works, including a large number of paintings (500) and drawings (1000) some of them depicting the life of Don Quixote, a theme that fascinated him for the last part of his life.