1849 - 1935
Portrait of Eugene Labat

Oil on canvas, signed lower right & monogram lower left. Inscribed upper left
Image size: 16 x 12 ¾ inches (41 x 32.5 cm)

Provenance:
By descent to the sitter’s great great grandson

Literature:
‘Jean Beraud‘ by Patrick Offenstadt, published 1999 by Taschen, Wildenstein Institute, No. 441 p.307 ( reproduced)

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Jean Béraud was born in 1848 to French parents in St. Petersburg, Russia, while his father, a sculptor, worked at St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Following the death of his father, Béraud returned to Paris with his family, where he was to become a lawyer. He abandoned law school after the end of the Franco-Prussian war, and turned instead to painting. He studied at the École des Beaux Arts under Léon Bonnat, a major artist of the Third Republic. He became fascinated with modern life in Paris, particularly following the major infrastructure project of Haussmannisation named for Georges-Eugène Haussmann, the prefect chosen to lead the urban renewal project.

Béraud painted the widened boulevards, new transportation systems and the intermingling of people from a wide array of social spheres. To some extent, he broke with the conventions of the Academy, and incorporated realism and satire into his paintings of 19th-century Parisian life, and loosened his brushstrokes, providing a bridge to the oncoming generation of Impressionist painters.

He was close friends with Manet, Degas and Renoir; although he shared with them an interest in the changing face of Paris, and a quicker application of paint, he remained nonetheless steeped in the classical traditions of painting. He turned to unconventional biblical characters and scenes in unexpected compositions, creating some scandal; however, he was beloved and admired at the Salons, and achieved such success that he spent his later years on exhibition committees for the Salons of the Academy.

Béraud never married and had no children. He died in Paris on October 4, 1935, and is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery beside his mother.

Museums
Louvre, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum, New York; the National Gallery, London; the Art Institute of Chicago