Béraud’s paintings are synonymous with the Belle Époque, so much so that at the turn of the century any painted scene of Parisian life came to be known as a ‘Béraud.’ He adored the city, in all weathers, at any time of day or night, indoors or out, and above all loved its people, whether the aristocracy and upper middle classes, the bourgeoisie, or the working people. A pupil of Léon Bonnat, Béraud’s rigorous draftsmanship owes something to this academic training, but his choice of subjects was far from that of the Academics such as William Bouguereau, Georges Jules Victor Clairin and Charles Gleyre. In graphic, spare works such as this, it is clear that Béraud’s elegant realism owed something to the new art of photography pioneered by Nicéphore Niépce, Louis Daguerre, and Henry Fox Talbot.
Béraud embraced the world of fashion and celebrated the art of dress. He took great pleasure in detailing the elaborate costumes of Parisiennes during the Belle Époque, and the shops of the rue de la Paix, including the famous Maison Doucet and Maison Paquin. Indeed, both the men and women of Paris knew that public life required them to be on display, and they shopped and dressed with that mind.
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