Portrait of the young Georges Menier
  • Forain Jean-Louis
  • Reims 1852 - 1931 Paris
  • Portrait of the young Georges Menier, 1889
  • Silverpoint and brush in black ink,
    with partial wash in colour and heightened with white,
  • signed and dated on the lower right:
    j.l. forain 7 le 17 mars 1889,
    inscribed on an old mount:
    Portrait de Georges MENIER / par Forain /
    avenue Ruysdael / (avec la rougeole)

    and on a label:
    Madame Menier / portrait par Forain / de Georges 1889
  • 278 × 223 mm
The family of the sitter

Unsatisfied with his attempts to obtain an academic training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Forain took charge of his own education. The cafés and streets of the metropolis provided him with a surplus of material to sate his hunger for drawing.

Soon he was able to place his illustrations in all of the important periodicals of the city, such as “Monde parisien,” “Figaro,” “Vie parisienne” and countless others. His poster designs also made him nationally known. After 1889, Forain himself began to produce magazines such as “Le Fifre” and “Psst!” as an editor and publisher. At the same time, he printed collections of his own illustrations and was thus continually able to increase his popularity. Forain derived his subject matter from Parisian everyday life, from the demimonde to the artists to the commercial bustle of the stock exchange. In this, Daumier and Gavarni can be numbered as his direct models.

A particular linearity and reduction of form characterise Forain’s studies and watercolours, often resulting in an effect of ease and a highlighting of the essential. The drawing shown here, of young Georges in bed with the measles, is a good example of these qualities.