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Prints and Authors in the Time of Manet

Jean-François Raffaëlli
French, 1850–1924 Joris-Karl Huysmans
French, 1848–1907

Parisian Sketches (Croquis parisiens)

Etchings and letterpress
Published by Henri Vaton, Paris, 1880
Gift of Molly and Walter Bareiss, 1984.982

Jean-François Raffaëlli’s aim was always to awaken the viewer to society’s problems; he remarked that “art should be wedded with utility, and the artist should be the legislator of the senses and the educator of ideas.” Raffaëlli became well known around the time this book was published when he began to paint genre scenes centered around the suburbs of Paris—what scholar Richard Thomson characterized as “the population of the shanty-towns and wasteland on the outskirts of the city, the down-and-outs and the ‘petit bourgeois’.”
In 1879, the novelist and occasional art critic Joris-Karl Huysmans praised Raffaëlli’s Salon exhibition entry and a friendship ensued. Huysmans was writing about the same Parisian suburbs that Raffaëlli was painting and collaboration was inevitable.