Couple Devant une Bijouterie, before 1882
oil on canvas
12 3/4 x 16 in. (32.5 x 40.5 cm.)
dedicated and signed à mon ami Poirson/Jean Béraud (lower right)
The present lot was given by Jean Béraud to his good friend, Maurice Poirson — an artist in his own right who, tragically, died at an early age and left no heirs. An article in Le Gaulois, published December 16, 1882, describes his passing as a disaster for the art community of Paris and chronicles the guests who came to pay their respects at the Église de Saint-François de Sales on the Boulevard Berthier, including Béraud (see lots 2, 4, 5, 56, 57 and 59), Jules Bastien-Lepage, Alexandre Cabanel (his teacher, see lot 72), Edgar Degas, Jean-Léon Gérôme (see lots 11, 17 and 67) Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Jehan-Georges Vibert (see lots 51 and 52) among many others — a veritable "who’s who" of the Belle Époque in Paris.
After his death, this painting was left to Maurice’s half-brother, Paul Poirson, as was his studio on the Boulevard Berthier. Paul subsequently rented the studio to John Singer Sargant, from whom he would accept a fine portrait of his wife, Madame Paul Poirson (1885, Detroit Institute of Arts), in lieu of payment. Couple devant une bijouterie, which likely features the Ravaut jewellery shop which was on rue de la Paix in Paris, has since been passed down through generations of the Poirson family.