Saturday, November 26, 2011
Social Life in Jean-Louis Forain's Paris 1852-1931
Well, except for the costumes, today's social season seems to share many characteristics with the social season in the France of Jean-Louis Forain, Impressionist painter, lithographer, watercolorist, & etcher. Born in Reims, his family moved to Paris, when he was 8. He worked as a caricaturist for several Paris journals including Le Monde Parisien & Le rire satirique. He then enrolled at the École des Beaux Arts, studying under Jean-Léon Gérôme as well as Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.
He was the youngest artist to participate in the feverish debates led by Édouard Manet & Edgar Degas at the Café de la Nouvelle Athènes. A follower & protégé of Degas, Forain joined the Impressionist circle in time to take part in the 4th independent exhibition in 1879; and he participated in 3 of the 4 landmark shows 1879-1884. His paintings focused on Parisian popular entertainments - the racetrack, the ballet, the comic opera, public gardens, & bustling cafés.
In 1891, Forain married the painter Jeanne Bosc with whom he had a son, Jean-Loup in 1895. In his later years, Forain created numerous scenes of the Law Courts plus other social satire caricatures on French life. In 1931, shortly before his death, he was made a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.