Deep Dive: Exploring the Exhibits

Charcoal Drawing of Otto Von Bismarck, by Jean-Louis Forain (1871)

This charcoal drawing on beige paper is of Otto Von Bismarck, dated 1871 which was the same year of German unification into a nation state with him as the first Chancellor. Otto Von Bismarck takes precedence in this piece on the left hand side, looking off into the distance behind him.



This print is numbered 66 out of a series of 300 on the lower right corner, while the date itself - marked "En 1871" - is seen in the top left corner. The line on the bottom, roughly translated, reads "the year Mr. Wilson was only 14 years old". The print is enclosed in a dark painted wooden frame with a sheet of glass protecting the print, with paper shielding the back of the frame.


The artist, Jean-Louis Forain, was a French impressionist, painter, lithographer, water colorist and etcher, born in 1852 and died in 1931. He was well known for his depictions of Parisian nightlife via his artwork, often with operas and cafes being a commonplace subject matter. Originally born in Reims, he would move to Paris with his family and studied under Jean-Léon Gérôme at the École des Beaux-Arts. He would later frequent the Cafe Guerbois where he met Édouard Manet and Degas, whose work influenced his own as time went on. He would go on to address more political topics later in his life, contributing many pieces to a number of notable periodicals.

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