Jean-Louis Forain
French (1852-1931)
A Plea for Mercy, c. 1905
Oil on canvas
37×39 IN.

Signed lower right: "Forain". In fine condition. Included in the catalogue raisonné prepared by Mme. Florence Valdès-Forain.
After an extraordinary career from the 1870s to 1894 working in Paris in the Impressionist style and in the subjects of “Gay Paris”, Forain turned his attention to the more serious matters of the French Law courts and biblical and devotional subjects. As Sinclair Hitchings wrote in Jean-Louis Forain: Works From New England Collections, “Forain was influenced by Manet at this time and met with him and Degas and the Impressionist group at the Café de la Nouvelle Athènes at the Place Pigalle...The most important friendship formed in this Impressionist period in Forain’s career was with Edgar Degas (1834-1917). Forain admired Degas greatly as an artist and also as a person. There is no question that Forain’s life and art were influenced." Degas also acknowledged the closeness of their styles when he said “He paints with his hands in my pockets.” But Degas also collected Forain’s drawings (14) and owned one painting, The Tribunal of 1902-3 (in the collection of the Tate Gallery, London since 1918) which is a smaller, but remarkably similar subject to A Plea For Mercy.

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