JEAN-FRANÇOIS RAFFAELLI (1850-1924)

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18 000 - 25 000 EUR

JEAN-FRANÇOIS RAFFAELLI (1850-1924)


Paysage de banlieue, Aubervilliers
Oil on cardboard, signed lower right
65.7 x 86.5 cm - 25 7/8 x 34 in.

Nous remercions la galerie Brame et Lorenceau d'avoir aimablement confirmé l'authenticité de cette oeuvre, qui sera incluse au Catalogue critique informatisé de l'artiste actuellement en préparation.

PROVENANCE
Collection privée, Sud de la France

JEAN-FRANÇOIS RAFFAËLLI
Jean-François Raffaëlli is a French painter and sculptor of Italian origin born in 1850 in Paris. He trained at the School of Fine Arts under the tutelage of the famous artist Léon Gérôme. He exhibited for the first time at the Paris Salon in 1870. He is known to be the painter of the Parisian suburbs and that of the representation of the emergence of a middle class. He is a very well-known artist during his lifetime as he was awarded and named ‘Officier de la Légion d'Honneur'. He was also awarded a gold medal at the 1889 World's Fair.
Although he is not affiliated with them, his technique is very much influenced by that of the Impressionists. He paints in a very supple way and the brushstrokes are visible. Raffaëlli also rubbed shoulders with these artists. Degas, who became his friend, pushed him to participate in the Impres­sionists' exhibition of 1880 and 1881. He borrowed his pastel technique from him, and from Morisot his airy and clear touch.
He died at the age of 74. The Symbolist poet and art critic Gustave Kahn declared about the artist: «Raffaëlli is dead (...) He knew everything about his art. The certainty of his execution ensures that his paintings will last a long time... The paintings of him that will enter the Louvre will smile with an unalterable youthfulness. Let us hope that they will be there enough to show all the diversity as well as the strength of his genius...”.1
In this oil on cardboard, Raffaëlli represents a landscape in the suburbs of Aubervilliers. The fields are depicted in the foreground, with trees and fences crossing them. A small country church stands upright in the middle of the painting. It hides an industrial complex just behind it. The chimneys of the factories produce a dense smoke that eventually melts into the shades of colors of the sky. The artist perfectly expresses the material of each element through var­ious touches and shades of pink, blue and green. Raffaëlli certainly knows how to make his works come alive, as he does here again thanks to the movement he gives to the different elements.
The artist captures here a very representa­tive image of his time, when the industrial era is about to replace rural society. Raffaëlli can be described as a painter of modern life. He transcribes the moods of his time and of this changing society.
The Impressionists joyfully celebrated this industrialization: Caillebotte and Monet for example represented factories or railway stations. These are recurring themes and considered fundamentally modern. The true painter of modernity was the one who mastered the art of observation, in order to accurately transcribe the very character of things.
Raffaelli said, «One is modern by the feeling, by the idea one has of the moral atmosphere that surrounds us (...) And I would say even more: the greatest geniuses of the past were modern in their time, that is to say, the more they reflected the turmoil of their time, the more modern they remain throughout the ages».2
In the preface to the catalogue of his exhi­bition of June 10th, 1909 at the gallery of Georges Petit, Raffaëlli tells that he loves cities. The city of Paris and its suburbs are his muses. Through their representation, he tells us about the advent of modernity.
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