J. L. Forain - Encyclopedia




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J. L. FORAIN (1852-), French painter and illustrator, was born in 1852. He became one of the leading modern Parisian caricaturists, who in his merciless exposure of the weaknesses of the bourgeoisie continued the work which was begun by Daumier under the second Empire. The scathing bitterness of his satire is as clearly derived from Daumier as his pictorial style can be traced to Manet and Degas; but even in his painting he never suppresses the caustic spirit that drives him to caricature. He has, indeed, been rightly called "a Degas pushed on to caricature." In his pen-and-ink work he combines extraordinary economy of means with the utmost power of expression and suggestion. Forain's popularity dates from the publication of his Comedie parisienne, a series of two hundred and fifty sketches republished in book form. He has contributed many admirable, if sometimes over-daring, pages to the Figaro, Le Rire, L'Assiette au beurre, Le Courrier francais, and L'Indiscret. His political drawings for the Figaro were republished in book form under the title of Doux Pays.

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