Raffaëlli, Jean-François

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Jean-François Raffaëlli (1850-1924)


Was Jean-François Raffaëlli an Impressionist?

Jean-François Raffaëlli caused division among the Impressionists. Raffaëlli, invited by Degas, first joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions in 1880, the year that Monet had withdrawn. Raffaëlli, who did partake with far out the most (41) works, is called the successor of Monet (R2,p308). In a lettre to Pissarro (1881/01/24) Caillebotte complained that Degas took with him artists that were fighters for the cause of Realism, especially Raffaëlli (R102,p275;R1,p447-9;R116I,p170/1). In the preparations of the 1882 exposition Caillebotte, but also Gauguin and Guillaumin didn’t want to exhibit again with Raffaëlli and others that were introduced by Degas. Pissarro had to support them. On those terms Degas didn’t want to exhibit himself, where after his old schoolfriend Rouart and also Cassatt, Forain and Tillot resigned. (R2,p373-378;R1,p464-7;R3,p232;R102,p276;R116I,p173-5).
Still, in 1884/04 Fénéon includes Raffaëlli to the ‘clan of impressionists’ (R1,p478). And in 1886, together with Monet, Raffaëlli was part of the exhibition committee of the ‘Expositions Internationale’ of George Petit in which also Renoir joined; all three leaving the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition of 1886 aside (R3,p255;R1,p522). And together with other Impressionists he exhibits with ‘Les XX’ in Brussels in 1885+87. But Raffaëlli had dissociated himself from the Impressionists in 1884 finding it ‘too purely scientific’ (R1,p522+544).



Jean-François Raffaëlli at the Salon:

Jean-François Raffaëlli exhibited at the Salon in 1870/ 73/ 75/ 76/ 77/ 79. And after exhibiting with the impressionists in 1880 + 81 again in 1885/ 86/ 87/ 88/ 89.  (iR1) 1870 was the debut of Jean-François Raffaëlli at the Salon (R3;R9). He was rejected for the Salon between 1871-75 (R3), this must be partly, because he did exhibit in 1873 + 75 exhibiting each one work (iR1). In 1876 he had a great succes at the Salon (R3).
See works exhibited at the -/- Salon. See link for an +/-account.


J.F. Raffaëlli joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions in 1880 and 1881 with many works:

Raffaëlli had rejected the invitation of Degas for the exposition in 1879 (R1,p423). Caillebotte mentions that already in 1877/78 Degas tried to persuade Raffaëlli to join the expositions (R102,p275).
At the 5th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1880 J.F. Raffaëlli showed 41 works (catalogue numbers x-x) (R2,p312?).
At the 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1881 J.F. Raffaëlli showed 34 works (catalogue numbers x-x) (R2,px)
Jean-François Raffaëlli received positive critics from Wolff and Claretie (R41).
See link for his -/-pictures exhibited in 1880 and in 1881. See link for an -/-account.


Jean-François Raffaëlli at other exhibitions:

1884: solo exhibition with 150 works; large success (R3,p222). 1885: Raffaëlli exhibited with ‘les XX’ in Brussels (iR1). 1886: together with Monet, Raffaëlli was part of the exhibition committee of the ‘Expositions Internationales’ of George Petit (R3,p255;R9).  1887: Raffaëlli probably exhibited again with Les XX, probably together with Lebourg, Morisot, Pissarro, Seurat and Signac (R116I,p202). 1889: receives the golden medal at the Exposition Universelle (R3). Jean-François Raffaëlli exhibited at the SNBA in 1891/ 92/ 93/ 94/ 96/ 97/ 98/ 99/ 1902/ 03/ 07/ 08/ 10 (iR1;R3). 1896/01: exhibition of Raffaëlli’s work at the Arnold gallery in Dresden (R116I,p263).


Jean-François Raffaëlli as an artist:

1868ca: Jean-François Raffaëlli was a pupil of Gérôme and followed courses at the École des Beaux-Arts (R3;iR1;R1,p73). In the later 1870s Raffaëlli sometimes joined Degas to the Café de la Nouvelle-Athènes (R1,p399;R5,p47).
In his work Jean-François Raffaëlli renders a form of sentimentalism and anecdotism (R41). He rendered many scenes from the poor sub-urbs of Paris (R3). He was interested in socially deprived characters like Breton farmers, alcoholics in the city and ragpickers (R3,p222). He became a leading figure of the ‘poor-people-art’ (R3,p222). His style is related to Realism (R3). Around the mid 1870’s his style is influenced by the impressionism of Monet and Sisley (R3). From Impressionism he only borrowed elements like a sketchy way of painting, moveable structure, cutting of at the edge (R3,p222). He combined a watered-down sort of Impressionism with anecdotic and realistic subjects (R1,p439). His emphasize was on drawing, not on colour; he used many black and whites (R16). Denvir cals him a sort ‘academic Realist’ (R5,p119), he was never an Impressionist; his style can be called magical realist (R8,p383).
Raffaëlli also made portraits (R3). Later on will make many landscapes in the surroundings of Paris (R3). Paints with covered hues (R3). Paints with spars colours (R3).
Between 1879-82 he was admired by Huysmans (R3,p226;R1,p428+441+472). Fénéon (1884/04) includes Raffaëlli to the ‘clan of impressionists’ (R1,p478). Around 1886 Raffaëlli was quit famous and had good sales (R3,p255). In 1889 Raffaëlli supported Monet’s attempt to buy Manet’s Olympia in order to offer it to the French nation (R1,p553/4).
He also made etchings (R16). Together with Forain he made etchings for the book ‘Croquis Parisiens’ of Huysmans (R16). He also made etchings for the journal ‘Le jour et la nuit’, which would not be published (R5,p116;R116I,p166) and probably partly he exhibited in 1880 at the 5th ‘impressionist’ exposition. Raffaëlli also was a sculptor (R16;R8,p383).
Jean-François Raffaëlli invented oil markers that combined the features of oil and pastel paint (R3).


Jean-François Raffaëlli, a short biography:

  • 1839: Jean-François Raffaëlli was born (R41).
    He had Italian roots (R8,p383;R16).
  • 1850: Jean-François Raffaëlli was born in Lyon (R3;R9)
  • The name Raffaëlli is sometimes rendered as Raffaelli (iR1;iR60).
    His first name is mostly rendered as Jean-François and sometimes as Francisque (iR1) or Jean Françisque (iR60)
  • 1868ca: at first Raffaëlli worked as a bookkeeper and as a singer and as a comedian (R3,p222;R9)
  • 1870: he lived at 13, rue Girardon, Paris (iR1)
  • 1870ca: travels to Italy, Egypt, Alger and Spain (R9;R3)
  • 1873-77: he lived at 35, rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, Paris (iR1)
  • 1876: travels to England (R3).
  • 1879-86: he lived 19, rue de la Bibliothèque, Asnière (Seine) (iR1;R2,p313+355)
  • 1896/07: he did a lecture tour in the USA, later telling Pissarro how the people admired Monet (R116I,p263).
  • 1903/11/15: Raffaëlli attends the funeral of Pissarro (R116I,p319).
  • 1924: Jean-François Raffaëlli died in Paris (R3;R9)



My main sources are Rewald (1973=R1), Moffett (1986=R2), Walther (2013,p690=R3), Denvir (1993=R5;1992=R8), Schurr&Cabanne (2008=R9,p607), Spiess (1992,p275=R16), Guégan (2005=R41,p102), the Salon database (iR1), and the additional references (aRx). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are Wikimedia (iR6) and xx. For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.

Additional references:

  1. x