Originally trained as a lawyer, 19th Century artist Jean Béraud turned his attention to painting after his studies were interrupted by the Franco-Prussian war.
He was born in St. Petersberg, his father a sculptor, and moved to Paris after his father’s death. After studying with well known portrait artist Léon Bonnat, Béraud painted scenes of life in the Parisian streets, cafes, bistros and theaters.
His style ranged from academically realist to not quite full-on impressionism, though he was at his best, in my eyes, when both influences were evident in the same canvas.
He also painted satirical impressions of Parisian life, including works in which biblical figures appeared in contemporary scenes.
It’s interesting to compare his Absinthe Drinkers (above, bottom) with Degas’s more famous painting of a similar subject.
Réunion des Musées Nationaux (zoomable)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, and here and here
Walters Art Museum
National Gallery, UK
Artcyclopedia (museum links and image resouces)
Bio on Wikipedia
5 Replies to “Jean Béraud”
There is a big book on his work (but a lot of little images) edited by Taschen. It’s often open on my table because I work on a comics during the Belle Epoque period. His work is interesting for documentation purpose but main of his paintings show well dressed people – and pretty dressed women – and a very cliché Paris, so not very realistic.
Thanks, Li-An. Good to know about the book, even if the images are small. Yes, I assume it’s an unrealistic Paris that he paints, but he paints it beautifully.
Thanks again, Charley.
“La sortie du bourgois”, obscured in someone’s private collection, reveals the realistic social differences of that era, which was his foremost intention when he began to paint and exhibit.
It’s true that there are some social paintings but a little naive in their imagery and conception.
Great! I just love his paintings!
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