Constantin Guys

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Constantin Guys
Men and Women Meeting in a Foyer
ca. 1860
Brush and brown wash, on paper.
7 7/8 x 9 1/2 inches (200 x 245 mm)
Gift of the Christian Humann Foundation.

The artist's fame stems from his sketches of Parisian society, for which Baudelaire dubbed him “the Painter of Modern Life” in the pages of Le Figaro (1863). Widely traveled and a regular contributor to the growing corpus of illustrated journals such as Illustrated London News and Punch, he worked swiftly and captured the sense of movement synonymous with modern urban life.
This group of figures appears to be gathered in the foyer of a theater or cabaret, judging from the row of gas lamps along the upper margin. The women wear small bonnets, one a cape, the other a jacket, over voluminous crinolines, a stiff underskirt introduced in 1855 and unfashionable by 1867. They speak to two men in top hats, while a third seems indifferent to their presence; other similarly attired men mill about and walk through the background.
The backing board bears a sticker from Nadar at 48 rue Bassano, Paris. Nadar was the shop of Paul Nadar, son of the photographer Adrien Nadar, and a nephew of famed Felix Nadar (born Gaspard-Felix Tournachon), who was the first in the family to use the pseudonym 'Nadar.' Adrien Nadar was a close friend of Guys.

Nadar, Paris; Count Christian Humann-Guilleminot (1929-1981), New York.
Associated names: 

Humann, Christian, 1929-1981, former owner.


Galerie Charpentier, Exposition Rétrospective Constantin Guys: Cinquantenaire, M CM XLIII.

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