DescriptionJean Béraud (French, 1849-1935)
L'Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées, circa 1882-85
Oil on canvas
22-1/2 x 15-1/4 inches (57.2 x 38.7 cm)
Signed lower right: Jean Beraud
PROPERTY FROM THE MERRYL ISRAEL ARON FAMILY TRUST PROVENANCE:
[With]MacConnal-Mason & Son Fine Paintings, London (label);
Newhouse Galleries, New York.
Richmond Museum of Fine Arts, "Expert's Choice, 1000 Years of the Art Trade," 1983.
J. Walker, Expert's Choice, 1000 Years of the Art Trade, exhibition catalogue, Richmond Museum of Fine Arts, 1983, p. 181, illustrated;
P. Offenstadt, Jean B?éraud, The Belle Époque, A Dream of Times Gone By: Catalogue Raisonné, Paris, 1999, p. 144, no. 134, illustrated.
Honoring those who fought and died for France during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile stands majestically at the center of the present work by Jean Béraud, the master of Belle Époque Parisian painting. In this stunning portrait of the famous monument on a glorious sunlit day, Béraud presents the prototypical view of the Champs-Élysées: fashionably dressed figures stroll under the trees and others ride in carriages down the busy avenue. Many have commented on Beraud's realistic portrayal of everyday life at the fin-de-siecle and this attention to detail extends to his meticulous depiction of a plaster sculpture that surmounted the Arc itself at the time-Alexandre Falguière's The Triumph of the Revolution. As one of the finest sculptors to practice during the Second Empire, Falguière conceived his monumental plaster sculpture as an elaborate quadriga preparing to "crush Anarchy and Despotism", a worthy commentary on the political vagaries that had beset France in the past. The plaster group was in place from 1882 until it crumbled in 1886. Unfortunately, no version in bronze was commissioned; there is only a maquette of the sculpture in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay, and, of course, images such as Béraud's Arc de Triomphe.
Dry lining. Original stretchers. Fine craquelure commensurate for the age. UV examination shows two types of restoration in the sky. Vertical cracks aligning with stretcher bars have been inpainted, and the sky has been rather liberally brushed in patches with archival pigments which address other spots of craquelure. There are discrete touches of strengthening, mostly in the darks in many of the figures and animals, but also in the arch, and on the face of the larger figure of the woman on the left. The upper left quadrant containing the tree is nearly devoid of restoration save the far upper left corner, where a cluster of daubs of inpaint can be seen. The conservation has been done very carefully and judiciously, and is not visible in daylight. Framed Dimensions 29.75 X 22.75 Inches
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