Saturday, June 30, 2018

Paul Charles Chocarne-Moreau

Paul Charles Chocarne-Moreau (French, 1855-1931) painted realistic scenes of urban street kids having fun and getting into mischief.

He loved to contrast the black tones of a chimney sweep with the white of a pastry chef.

Often the two lads light cigarettes from each other.

The idea of unsupervised children in cities was a popular theme in 19th century European literature, such as Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens or The Match Girl, by Hans Christian Anderson. 

"Opportunity Makes the Thief"
Reformers were in interested in how neglected children could be corrupted by the temptations of urban life. 

Both London and Paris had large numbers of orphans and other parentless kids, who were disparaged as: "half-savage children, street arabs, street urchins, mudlarks, and guttersnipes — filthy, ragged, lying, cursing, and hungry, roaming singly or in packs like young wolves, snatching stealing, stone-throwing, destructive, brutish, and cruel when not merely hopeless and lost." 

In some moralistic and sentimental writings, the hardships of the street were sometimes regarded as a builder of character, but in Chocarne-Moreau's paintings, they mainly provided the stage for affectionate and humorous anecdotes. 

At the Circus
Chocarne-Moreau's portrayal of childhood were popular in their day, and he might be regarded as a forerunner of Norman Rockwell. 

"I warned you"
He studied under Robert-Fleury and Bouguereau, According to Aaron Scharf, he probably based his paintings on photographs, as most realist painters did in those days.
Pinterest collection of Chocarne-Moreau
Roe, F. Gordon. The Victorian Child. London: Phoenix House, 1959.
Scharf, Aaron. Art and Photography.

1 comment:

Brian said...

"...he probably based his paintings on photographs, as most realist painters did in those days."

-Well, I would never have guessed, because his paintings don't seem to have that painted-from-a-photo look about them. Then again, neither does most of Rockwell's. I would guess it is because both were well trained in traditional classical skills.