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Edmond Georges Grandjean - Le Boulevard des Italiens

Edmond Georges Grandjean

Le Boulevard des Italiens

Oil on canvas: 36.3(h) x 57.2(w) in / 92.1(h) x 145.4(w) cm
Signed and dated lower right: E. Grandjean 1889

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1844 - Paris - 1909

Ref: CA 107


Le Boulevard des Italiens


Signed and dated lower right: E. Grandjean 1889

Oil on canvas: 36 ¼ x 57 ¼ in / 92.1 x 145.4 cm

Frame size: 46 x 67 in / 116.8 x 170.2 cm




M Newman, Ltd., London, 1958 Mrs M Lavery, 1958 KW Woolcombe-Boyce, Esq., 1961 L Martineau, 1978;

his estate sale, Sotheby’s London, 22nd November 1978, lot 76; Richard Green, Ltd., London;

private collection, USA Christie’s New York, 1st March 1984, lot 103;

where acquired by the late Paula and Don Gaston


Paris, Salon, 1889, no.1203 Paris, Salon, 1903, no.824 London, M Newman Ltd., 19th Century Life, Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings, 1958, no.17



Exposition des Beaux Arts, Salon de 1889, Catalogue illustré, Peinture et sculpture, p.212, no.1203, illus. Connoisseur Magazine, June 1958, p.261, no.141, illus. 



Baron Haussmann was appointed Prefect of the Seine Départment by Emperor Napoleon III in 1852 and began to transform Paris, replacing what remained of the medieval streetscapes with wide, tree-lined boulevards. Edmond-Georges Grandjean became a student at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1862 and studied both genre subjects and portraits, before specializing in views of the capital. Like Jean Béraud, Grandjean would make detailed sketches in the city before creating his elaborate compositions in his studio in Passy. His paintings are full of light, with vividly observed street life, and high finish. He began exhibiting at the Paris Salon in 1865. A critic wrote of Grandjean’s 1879 submission: ‘So consummate is the art that it is difficult to realise that we are gazing upon a scene printed on canvas. One could believe it to be a view from nature obtained by instantaneous photography, but for the fact that it is so finished and well studied a picture. That would be a rare photograph, indeed, that should yield a result like this – such admirable distribution of parts, comprehensive variety of details, and naturalness of movement … M. Grandjean is justly distinguished for his success in treating this class of subjects’.


This painting depicts the Boulevard des Italiens, one of the most fashionable of Haussmann’s new streets, looking eastwards on a summer’s day. The boulevard is thronged with smart equipages, including a lady in red driving two-in-hand, with her groom perched on the box behind. On the left, a man on a tricycle turns the corner from the rue de la Chaussée d’Antin. On the right, the sturdy greys pulling the Madeleine-Bastille omnibus are bathed in sunlight. The open upper deck is filled with gentlemen, one reading a newspaper. A particularly lovely vignette is provided by a lady in white leading her sailor-suited son along the pavement nearby.


Paris was a place of burgeoning capitalism, with endless entertainments and luxury goods to tempt those who could afford it. The elegant white building on the right, on the corner of rue Louis-le-Grand, was the Pavillon de Hanovre at 33 Boulevard des Italiens. Built by the Maréchal de Richelieu 1758-60 as a garden pavilion to l’Hôtel d’Antin, from 1847 it was occupied by the Orfèvrerie Christofle, maker of the finest tableware, whose sign can be seen above the window. On the adjacent building is the blue sign of the Petit Journal, one of the major daily Parisian newspapers, published from 1863 to 1944. Grandjean captures the pulse of a confident modern city, while a traffic policeman serenely overlooks the scene.

























1844 – Paris – 1908


Edmond-George Grandjean was a painter of genre and animal scenes, portraits, and cityscapes.  Born in the French capital, Grandjean entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris in October 1862.  He was a pupil of Adolphe Yvon (1817-1893), Emile Signol (1804-1892) and Isidore Pils (1813-1875). 


Grandjean exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1865 to 1906. At the International Exhibitions, he received an honourable mention in 1881 and 1889, a third-class medal in 1888, and a second-class medal in 1898. He died in Paris in 1908.


The work of Edmond-George Grandjean is represented in the Musée de Gray, France. 





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