Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jean-Louis Forain: Painting as Commentary

Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931) forged a successful career as a painter and illustrator, though he is not very well known today. His Wikipedia entry mentions that he was a friend of Degas (not always an easy task) and followed or admired by Lautrec. The article classifies his art as Impressionist, though I can't quite buy that. Rather than focusing on effects of light and color, his work strikes me as being closer akin to that of a sketch artist -- setting down that kind of impression.

Forain was happy to depict both French society's highlights and lowlights -- from courtroom scenes to fancy dress occasions, often with satirical intent. This link has a lengthy commentary on an exhibit of Forain's work that took place a few years ago, and offers another perspective regarding his work.


Courtroom scenes...

Legal Assistance - 1900
Avocat et accusé - 1908
Witness Confounded - 1926

In the gardens...

Jardin de Paris c. 1882
The Public Garden - c. 1884

High life...

A Soiree at the Opera
The Buffet - 1884


The Fisherman- 1884
La cavalière

Here and there...

Cafe Maxim, Paris
Dans les coulisses
Behind the Scenes

... and some portraits

Jeanne Forain
Anna de Noailles

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