Jean Louis Forain, 1852 - 1931
UNE NUIT CHEZ MAXIM'S, c. 1907
Oil on canvas
60 by 73cm., 23 3/4 by 28 3/4 in.
Maxim's is a restaurant in Paris, France, located at No. 3 rue Royale in the 8th arrondissement. It is known for its Art Nouveau interior decor. Maxim's was regarded as the most famous restaurant in the world.
Maxim's was founded as a bistro in 1893 by Maxime Gaillard, formerly a waiter. It became one of the most popular and fashionable restaurants in Paris under its next owner, Eugene Cornuché. He gave the dining room its Art Nouveau decor, installed a piano, and made sure that it was always filled with beautiful women. Cornuché was accustomed to say: "An empty room... Never! I always have a beauty sitting by the window, in view from the sidewalk." More on Maxim's
Jean-Louis Forain (23 October 1852 – 11 July 1931) was a French Impressionist painter, lithographer, watercolorist and etcher. He began his career working as a caricaturist for several Paris journals including Le Monde Parisien and Le rire satirique. He enrolled at the École des Beaux Arts, studying under Jean-Léon Gérôme and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. Forain was the youngest artist to frequent and participate in the feverish debates led by Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas at the Café de la Nouvelle Athènes in Montmartre.
Forain joined the Impressionist circle in time to take part in the fourth independent exhibition in 1879; he participated in three of the four landmark shows that followed between 1879 and 1884. His work focused on Parisian popular entertainments and themes of modernity—the racetrack, the ballet, the comic opera, and bustling cafés.
Aside from being influenced by Edgar Degas, Forain was greatly influenced by Honoré Daumier. In 1892 he published the first volume of La Comédie Parisienne, a collection of Forain's illustrations and commentary on the major stories political stories that disrupted France’s Third Republic—such as the anarchic crisis and the Dreyfus affair. In 1891 Forain married the painter Jeanne Bosc with whom he had a son, Jean-Loup, born in 1895.
During the first World War, Forain's illustrations honored the patriotism of his contemporaries. In 1931, shortly before his death, he was made a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. He was one of France's best known and revered artists during his time and may best be remembered for his numerous drawings chronicling and commenting on Parisian city life at the end of the 19th century. Followers and admirers of Forain's work include Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. More on Jean-Louis Forain
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