Legrand, Louis(French, 1863-1951)
The art of Louis Legrand offers an intimate depiction of the Belle Epoque Paris peopled by pleasure seekers, with a special focus on the nightlife of Montmartre. After studying with Felicien Rops and an apprenticeship as an illustrator for Parisian periodicals, Legrand gained instant celebrity in 1891, when his watercolors of music-hall dancers, reproduced in Gil Blas illustré, sold out a record 60,000 copies. These were published the following year as a suite of etchings, Cours de danse Fin-de-siècle. Next, a series evoking Degas in its sympathetic rendering of ballet dancers, Les Petits du Ballet, was published in 1893 by Gustave Pellet. This was the beginning of a long collaboration, resulting in some 300 works, between the artist and the celebrated publisher of many of Lautrec's finest prints, as well as those of Redon, Rops, Signac, etc.
Many of Legrand's prints show women, usually occupied, rehearsing or waiting to go on stage, performing their toilette in private or in view of an admirer, or in the cafes or bars adjusting their hats and wraps while male companions stand by. Although Legrand achieved wide recognition during the most productive part of his career, before the First World War, changing tastes and a long period of inactivity before his death in 1951 combined to obscure many of his achievements.

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