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Creator Name: Raffaëlli, Jean François
Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1850 - 1924
Biography: Jean-François Raffaëlli tried his hand at just about every kind of artistic expression. When he was eighteen years old, he sang in theaters and churches. After enrolling as a volunteer during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), he returned to the theater for a short time. Painter, sculptor, printmaker, and illustrator, he was equally competent in the practice of each of these different techniques, but painting remained his true passion. He was listed as a student in Gérôme's (q.v) workshop but spent most of his time in the Louvre studying the Old Masters. He began exhibiting his paintings at the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français in 1870 before turning to that of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1891. In the meantime, with Degas' (q.v.) support, his works were accepted at the fifth and sixth impressionist exhibitions in 1880 and 1881, where he presented each time more than thirty-five works: paintings, watercolors, drawings, etchings, and drypoints. From 1894 to 1909, Raffaëlli exhibited his prints in numerous one-person shows. In 1904 he was the founding president of the Société de Gravure Originale en Couleurs. He also became known as an illustrator. His two most important contributions were his illustrations for the Goncourt brothers' Germinie Lacerteux (1864), and Les Types de Paris (1883), composed of texts by Stéphane Mallarmé, Alphonse Daudet, Émile Zola, J. K. Huysmans, and Octave Mirbeau, among others. Raffaëlli's predilection for images of the poor and the outcasts, his depictions of the downtrodden or humble workers such as street cleaners and coal men, was well suited to the themes addressed by naturalist writers such as Honoré de Balzac and Émile Zola. The end of the 1880s marked a turning point in the evolution of Raffaëlli's career. The artist concentrated on depicting mainly urban landscapes. Just like Henri Rousseau, le Douanier (q.v.), during the same period, he painted views of Paris suburbs in which figures held an ever decreasing importance. Views of Paris would begin to dominate his work in the mid-1890s. The artist almost exclusively chose to represent well-known monuments, such as Notre Dame, the Invalides, the Sainte-Chapelle, or locations like the Place Saint-Michel and Champs-Elysées. He was perhaps seeking to cater to affluent (American) tourists who could afford the luxury of this type of postcard. In 1894-95, Raffaëlli planned to visit the United States for a week in order to attend the opening of an exhibition of his works at the American Art Association in New York. The week evolved into five months during which he traveled all over the country, discovering a world that fascinated him. He gave lectures in English and became the "traveling salesman of the ideal." He went back to New York at the end of 1899 to inaugurate an exhibition of his works at the Durand-Ruel Galleries and was a member of the jury for the Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh.1
Creator Birth Place: Paris, 20 April 1850
Creator Death Place: Paris, 11 February 1924
Creator Name-CRT: Jean-François Raffaëlli
Title: Notre Dame Seen from the Quai de la Tournelle
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1897
Creation End Date: 1902
Creation Date: c. 1897/1902
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: oil on fabric
Dimensions: Unframed: 65cm x 81.2cm
Inscriptions: Signed lower right: jfraffaëlli [in two successive layers of paint, first dark gray and then yellowish gray]
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1953.649
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Myron E. Merry
Provenance: Mrs. H. E. Hayes, Cleveland, by 1913. Ralph King, Cleveland. Lent to the Cleveland Museum of Art, 27 September 1916-31 January 1919, and 4 June 1924-3 November 1924. Mrs. Myron E. Merry. Given to the CMA in 1953.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1953.649
AMICA Library Year: 2001
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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