Jean Francois Raffaelli portrait painter, landscape artist, genre painter, engraver lithographer and sculptor, born in Paris on April 20,1850, died in the same city on February 29,1924 (French School).
Before dedicating himself to painting, Raffaelli was an actor and played in the Lyric Theater. He then entered Gerome's studio and made his debut at the Salon of 1870. At first he painted genre pictures. Then in 1879 he began doing picturesque views of quaint Paris neighborhoods. A voyage to Brittany in 1876 revealed to him the efficiency, compared to genre scenes, of realistic themes treated with restraint. Searching for his subjects in the life of ordinary people in the suburbs of Paris' such as "Les Invites attendant la Noce” (Guests waiting at the Wedding) which is in the Louvre, he acquired the favor of naturalist writers.
He participated in the get togethers at the Cafe Guerbois, where Degas, against the wishes of the other members of the group, forced Raffaelli's acceptance at the impressionist exhibitions of 1890 and 1891. In spite of his admittedly somber palette, which was in absolute contradiction of impressionist rules and which he would lighten before the end of his life.
A one man show, which he mounted in 1884, established his reputation once and for all. After executing a few portraits, notably those of "Edmond de Goncourt"" and "Clemenceau", he resumed to genre painting and made a serious effort mainly, reproducing scenes of middle class life. More careful with his drawing than color, Raffaelli made a preliminary drawing in black and white of most of his canvases.
He also did Paris landscapes and in this manner he reached a large public. His typical scenes of Paris are accurately seen and expressed with spirit. His landscapes of the city’s slums and fortifications created their own genre and perpetuate to this day our memory of this strange "no man's land' which has since disappeared “Sur le zone" ("In the Slum'') "Chiffonnier" ("Rag picker"), "Le Chemineau ("The Railroad worker") “Le carriere De sable" ("The Sand Quarry”). "La Plain Saint Denis", “Coin de fortifications" (“Corner with Fortifications”).
As an engraver, Raffaelli produced prints with remarkable colors. Less gifted as an illustrator, one may nevertheless cite his collaboration with Forain on J.K. Huysmans, Croquis Parisians. He received a Mention Honorable at the 1885 Salon; Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1889 received a gold medal at the Exposition Universal of 1889 and became an officer of the Legion of Honor in 1906. He was a member of the society Des Beaux-Arts.