Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)
Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)
Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)
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Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)

La Prévenue ou Audience de tribunal

Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)
La Prévenue ou Audience de tribunal
signed and dated 'forain 1908' (lower right)
oil on canvas
23 ¾ x 29 in. (60.5 x 73.6 cm.)
Painted in 1908
Dr Francisco Llobet, Buenos Aires, by 1933.
G. Salomon, Buenos Aires.
Arthur Tooth & Sons, London, by 1964.
R. Shand Kydd, United Kingdom, by 1964.
Arthur Tooth & Sons, London.
E. Cartwright, by 1966.
Arnold Abraham Goodman [Lord Goodman], London, by 1978; his sale, Bonhams, London, 26 June 1996, lot 59.
Peter Nahum, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 2005.
The New York Times, New York, 23 June 1964 (illustrated).
L. Browse, Forain, The Painter, London, 1978, no. VII, pp. 82-83 (illustrated p. 91).
London, Roland, Browse & Delbanco, Forain, June - July 1964, no. 1, p. 5 (illustrated n.p.).
London, Roland, Browse & Delbanco, Forain, May - June 1978, no. 18, p. 11.
Post lot text
Florence Valdès-Forain intends to include this work in her forthcoming Forain catalogue raisonné.
Sale room notice
Please note Artist's Resale Right does not apply to this lot.

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Micol Flocchini
Micol Flocchini Head of Works on Paper Sale

Lot Essay

'I neither distort nor invent, I refract and for the good of everyone, I denounce. I am not a caricaturist, I am a painter of reality…' (Forain, quoted in 'A Portrait of Jean-Louis Forain, by his great granddaughter Florence Valdès-Forain,' in Jean-Louis Forain: The Impressionist Years, exh. cat., Memphis, 1995, p. 23).

A regular contributor to the contemporary journals and news outlets of his day, Forain earned a reputation throughout Paris as an insightful and satirical illustrator, unafraid to take aim at the prevailing social codes and habits of the city's well-to-do inhabitants. Demonstrating an acute ability for capturing the subtle nuances of class and etiquette that coloured even the most prosaic of interactions, Forain became an astute chronicler of the gradually shifting social and power structures of the period, as traditional boundaries between the classes began to disappear. A keen observer of life, Forain slipped easily into the role of the typical flâneur, absorbing the city's sights and sounds, experiencing its play of life first-hand.

In La Prévenue ou Audience de tribunal, we see Forain immortalise one of these fleeting encounters, in his lively and engaging depiction of a court scene. Capturing the varying textures and details of the character's costumes with the briefest of brushstrokes, Forain illustrates the importance of fashion and appearance at this time, while also casting a sense of intrigue in the fleeting exchanges he purposfully focuses on. In La Prévenue ou Audience de tribunal there is figure of mystery, an enigmatic exchange in the courtroom that caught Forain's attention, and left an indelible impression on the artist's memory.

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