The present work is particularly charming example of Jean Béraud's work, subtly incorporating a double portrait into the kind of busy Parisian street scene for which the artist is most famed.
Béraud was commissioned to paint the present work by a notary, Victor Galin, who is portrayed with his wife Louise (née Dalligny) on the corner of the rue Scribe and the boulevard des Capucines in front of the Jockey Club and the Grand Café, both popular haunts of Paris society. The billboard column (known as a colonne Morris) behind the couple was a favoured motif of the artist, as the announcements for theatre and sporting fixtures encapsulated the hustle and bustle of the city. Posters in the present work include announcements for events at the Paris Hippodrome and at Notre Dame, and a performance of Faust.
Monsieur Galin is portrayed as a refined man of his age, impeccably turned out, cigarette holder in hand, and with large, carefully groomed sideburns. Unlike many of Béraud's street scenes, the present work does not illustrate a cross-section of Paris society, but rather places the sitter completely in his own element, surrounded by passers by who seem equally at ease with their apparently gilded age.
The authenticity of the present work has kindly been confirmed by Patrick Offenstadt.