Jean François Raffaelli was born in Paris in 1850. Prior to dedicating himself to painting, Raffaelli was an actor and played in the Lyric Theater. Soon after, he entered Gerome’s studio and made his artistic debut at the Salon in 1870.
Early in his career, Raffaelli painted genre pictures, then, in 1879 he began producing picturesque views of quaint neighborhoods in Paris. A trip to Brittany in 1876 revealed to him the effect of realistic themes depicted with restraint. He began searching for his subjects in the lives of ordinary people in Paris’ suburbs.
In 1890, with the help of Degas, Raffaelli gained acceptance into the Impressionist exhibitions. He mounted a one-man show in 1884, establishing his reputation once and for all. A gifted engraver, Raffaelli produced prints containing remarkable color. Although less talented as an illustrator, he collaborated with Forain on J.K. Huysman’s “Croquis Parisians”.
Raffaelli received Honorable Mention at the Salon in 1885, a gold medal at the Exposition Universal in 1889 and became an officer of the Legion of Honor in 1906. He was also a member of the Societe des Beaux-Arts. Raffaelli died in Paris in 1924.