Paul Chocarne-Moreau

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Biography of Paul Chocarne-Moreau ( 1855-1931 )

A genre painter, Paul Chocarne-Moreau was born in Dijon, in the Burgundy region of France in 1855. Paul Chocarne-Moreau studied at the Fine-Arts Academy in Paris under the direction of William Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury, both very famous artists who eventually became President of the Société des Artistes Français. A very skilled portrait artist, he soon decided to depict mainly playful children, even though Paul Chocarne-Moreau represented them mostly while at work, in the streets of Paris.

Indeed, with the birth of industrialized countries in Europe, the 19th Century  saw a  growing interest in the working-class children and the hardship of their life, which was expressed through art and in litterature. Chocarne Moreau used the children as the main theme of his paintings but, rather than representing the often sorrowful nature of their life, he  chose to treat the subject in a humorous and anecdotal manner. 

Paul Chocarne-Moreau depicted children in their daily life, both at work and at play, telling lively stories through his works and  offering the viewer a chance to become a direct witness of the rivalries, games, threats, jokes and joys the boys experience within their relationships. The black figure of a young chimney sweeper, the white apron of a cook trainee, the dungaree of a little street vendor all illuminates his paintings, often backed by a wall of colourful  teared posters. One of his favorite was the young baker at work, or stealing some time off while running some errands in the streets of Paris.

His palette is consistent in his choice of image and recalls similar color schemes. Paul Chocarne-Moreau offers sensitivity while contributing to the expansion of the boundaries of genre painting. His amusing and often silly anecdotes were giving a lighter mood and were a pleasing respite from a often serious period in the history of art. He produced refreshing works which encountered a real success  within a large public .

From 1882, he exhibited regularly at The Salon («Au plus adroit», 1905; «Mi-carême», 1907;«Heureuse rencontre», 1908; «Sur la barricade», 1909; «Saute-mouton», 1911; «Libre échange», 1913...). He received an Honorable Mention in 1886, (“Before the Salon”), and a Bronze medal at the Universal Exhibition in 1889. 

His iconic images of the comical lives of young children, considered during his time as “the highlights of the Salon”,  have been presented later as forerunning those of the american artist Norman Rockwell.

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