Currently housed at the Muba Eugène Leroy, formerly known at the Musée des beaux-arts de Tourcoing, Jules Grun's 1913 The Dinner Party is a glittering reproduction of a dinner organized by the Salon des artistes français, a society of artists that encapsulated the heady days of Belle Epoque Paris in the late-nineteenth century.
Central to the painting is event and art exhibition that takes place in Paris to this day and has done every year since 1881. It is a heady and sumptuous image of the shimmer lights and intimate revelry of artistic fame. Rose-tinted perhaps, but Grun's ephemeral image fed the imaginations of countless eager art students aiming at a life in the Paris Salon.
Working well into the twentieth-century, Grun was an artist of measure and bombast yet spent a great deal of his talent giving shape and colour to the avant-garde community of Montmartre through his wonderful posters. A great satirical draftsman, poster designer and painter, no less than 135 posters bear his idiosyncratic blend of humour and elegance. Frequently documenting the Salon, Grun would often create a reproduction from life of the artistic elite on the opening night of the exhibition. Although fading into total obscurity after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, Grun's images remain ubiquitous in Paris to this day, littering souvenir shops and gift items. As one of the great figures of the Belle Epoque era, Grun made an immense contribution to a resurgence in lithographic techniques, and thereby utterly changing the face and character of social life in the late-nineteenth century. Contemporary advertisers owe a great debt to Jules Grun whose eloquence and elegance was expressed in social scenes, posters in the popular Japonism style, and theatrical decorations. An artist of atmosphere, few creative minds summed up the times in which they lived which such fluidity and joy.
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