Jean François Raffaëlli France

4-20-1850 Paris, FRA - 2-11-1924 Paris, FRA

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Raffaëlli, Jean François

Jean-François Raffaëlli showed an interest in music and theater before becoming a painter in 1870. One of his landscape paintings was accepted for exhibition at the Salon in that same year. In October 1871 he began three months of study under Jean-Léon Gérôme at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris; he had no other formal training.

Jean-François Raffaëlli produced primarily costume pictures until 1876, when he began to depict the people of his time—particularly peasants, workers, and rag pickers seen in the suburbs of Paris—in a realistic style. His new work was championed by Edgar Degas. The rag-picker became for Raffaëlli a symbol of the alienation of the individual in modern society.

Degas invited Jean-François Raffaëlli to participate in the Impressionist exhibitions of 1880 and 1881, an action that bitterly divided the group; not only was Raffaëlli not an Impressionist, but he threatened to dominate the 1880 exhibition with his outsized display of 37 works. Monet, resentful of Degas's insistence on expanding the Impressionist exhibitions by including several realists, chose not to exhibit.

After winning the Legion d'Honneur in 1889, Jean-François Raffaëlli shifted his attention from the suburbs of Paris to city itself, and the street scenes that resulted were well received by the public and the critics. He made a number of sculptures, but these are known today only through photographs. In the later years of his life, he concentrated on color printmaking.

Art Movement: Impressionism, Naturlaism
Influences: Jean-Léon Gérôme 
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