Rodrigo Picollo - October 2022
Images of Paris - Street Scenes
For centuries, Paris has attracted artists from around the world, arriving in the city to educate themselves and to seek inspiration from its artistic resources and galleries. As a result, Paris has received a reputation as the "City of Art". Home to some of the world's most famous museums and galleries, including the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay. The city today remains home to a thriving community of artists. Paris is recognized globally for its public landmarks and masterpieces of architecture including the Arc de Triomphe and a symbol of France, the Eiffel Tower.
Paris was in its artistic prime in the 19th century and early 20th century, when Paris had a colony of artists established in the city, with art schools associated with some of the finest painters of the times. The French Revolution and political and social change in France had a profound influence on art in the capital. Many painters moved towards using vibrant colours and elements of fantasy in their paintings, and Paris was central to the development of Romanticism in art. Impressionism, Symbolism, Art Nouveau, Neo-Impressionism, Divisionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Art Deco and Abstract art movements evolved in Paris. In the late 19th century and early 20th century many artists worldwide flocked to Paris to exhibit their works in the numerous salons and expositions, such as the Salon d'Automne and Salon des Indépendants, to make a name for themselves.
We have curated some of our favourite paintings of Paris from some well known artists:
Our Favourite Paris Street Scene Painters
Eugène Galien-Laloue (1854 - 1941)
Born in Paris of French-Italian parents, his paintings of the early 1900s accurately represent the era in which he lived: a happy, bustling Paris, la Belle Époque, with horse-drawn carriages, trolley cars and its first omnibuses. Galien-Laloue's works are valued not only for their contribution to 20th-century art, but for the actual history, which they document. His work can be seen at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Louvier; Musée des Beaux-Arts, La Rochelle; Mulhouse, France. A typical Galien-Laloue painting depicts sidewalks and avenues crowded with people or tourists mingling before the capital's monuments. He also painted the landscapes of Normandy and Seine-et-Marne, as well as military scenes he was commissioned to produce in 1914. The Republic of France selected Galien-Laloue to work as a 'war artist,' both during the Franco-Prussian War and World War I, chiefly in watercolor.
Frederic Anatole Houbron (1851-1908)
Frédéric Houbron was a French Painter (gouache), watercolorist, draftsman. He specialized in historical paintings, genre scenes, landscapes, urban landscapes and architectural views. Houbron began exhibiting in 1877, first at the Paris Salon, and then at the Salon des Artistes Français, where he won a bronze medal in 1900.Frederic Anatole Houbron Paintings
Jean Béraud (1849 – 1935)
Working during La Belle Époque, Jean Béraud was a skilled documenter of Parisian daily life, which by then had become a spectacle of display. While his Impressionist contemporaries were moving out into the country to study the changing effects of the landscape during the late nineteenth century, Béraud remained rooted in Paris, studying the city life and its people. After Baron Haussmann’s reorganization and expansion of the Parisian boulevards during the mid-century, which created the Paris recognizable today, the great expanses of space constructed encouraged people to mill about the city, bringing every member of society out from inside their homes. The life of Paris was now found along the boulevards. No longer were residents traveling in a labyrinthine maze of small, medieval streets. Now fashionably dressed men and women spent their afternoons walking through the park, or strolled along the fashionable boulevards where they could now window shop and indulge their senses. Cafes became major gathering places for both the upper echelon of society and the modern artists seeking refuge from this display of pomp. Béraud had ample subject matter since Paris had become a world of “flaneurs,” or an idle stroller, and the leisurely activity of aimless wandering became a hobby for the most cultured of individuals. He began to document these, and many other images, during his prolific career.
Luigi Loir (1845-1916)
Luigi Loir (22 December 1845 – 9 February 1916) was a French painter, illustrator and lithographer. Luigi Loir was born in Goritz, Austria. He was the son of Tancrède Loir François and Thérèse Leban, his wife, respectively valet and housekeeper of the French royal family in exile in Austria. Installed in the duchy of Parma in 1847, Luigi Loir studied at the school of Fine Arts of Parma in 1853. His first known painting is Paysage à Villiers-sur Seine (1865), painted two years after his return to Paris. He was primarily a landscape painter. He also became known for his ceiling paintings and worked with Jean Pastelot (1820–1870). He realized some drawings for the biscuits brand LU and participated in the battles of Le Bourget during the Franco-Prussian War.
Jean-François Raffaëlli (1850-1924)
Degas invited 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, complaining, "The little chapel has become a commonplace school which opens its doors to the first dauber to come along." An example of Raffaëlli's work from this period is Les buveurs d'absinthe (1881, in the California Palace of Legion of Honor Art Museum in San Francisco). Originally titled Les déclassés, the painting was widely praised at the 1881 exhibit. After winning the Légion d'honneur in 1889, 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. His work was also part of the painting event in the art competition at the 1912 Summer Olympics. In the later years of his life, he concentrated on color printmaking.
Isaac Israëls (1865-1934)
Son of the Hague School artist Jozef Israels, Isaac Israels was a leading figure of the Amsterdam Impressionism movement, renowned for his highly personal, luminous and free brushwork and subjects from his travels to Paris, London, and Indonesia.
At the mere age of thirteen, Israels attended the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague where he befriended Georg Hendrik Breitner. Between 1880 and 1884, Israels and Breitner were both particularly fascinated by military subjects and in 1882 Israels debuted at the Salon with Military Burial. In 1886, the two artists enrolled at the Reijksacademie in Amsterdam but after only a year the pair left the academy and joined the circle of the Tachtigers (or ‘Eighties’ group), a progressive Dutch movement of writers and artists.
In 1904, Israels moved to Paris. The parks, cafes, cabarets, and street scenes which Israels studied in Amsterdam continued to be his chosen subject in Paris; however, he also took to painting acrobats and fairgrounds. Israels moved to London in the spring of 1913 but grew increasingly frustrated here as the outbreak of the First World War prevented him from painting out in the streets. He redirected his interests towards boxers and wrestlers. He returned to Holland for the remainder of the war, moving between The Hague, Amsterdam and Scheveningen, where he used to holiday with his father, accompanied by other artists such as Edouard Manet.
Paris has long been a favourite destination for European and American artists from the Salon to the impressionists and beyond, the city itself has inspired many fabulous artworks. The bustling streets, wonderful architecture and numerous cafes have helped inspire artists for generations and will no doubt continue to do so.