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Jules-Alexandre Grün, was a French painter, illustrator, and poster artist. He was born in Paris, on May 25th, 1868. He died of Parkinson's Disease, although the date of his death is debated. Some sources state that he died on February 15, 1934, while others, such as the Salon de Paris official documents claim 1938. Yet another source claims 1945.

Grun was the pupil of Jean-Baptiste Lavastre, the famed theatrical decorator of the Paris Opera, and of Antoine Guillemet, a renowned landscape painter. Still life, portraits, and scenes of Parisian life were his favorite subjects. In 1890, his illustrations for Xanrof's Chansons sans Gene (1890) and Chansons à rire (1891) made him the poet of the Bohemian element and the Montmartre atmosphere.

There isn't much information available in the public domain on Grun. In order to compile this information we spoke with many noted art experts, including several art history professors and the curators of several French museums. His early life is virtually unknown, although we do know many of his accomplishments, as they are well documented in the annals of the Paris Salons and periodicals of the period. One turn of the century publication characterized him as follows:

"Whoever sees Grun once will always re-examine it in his spirit: a Frenchman with a beard and a legendary baldness; eyes strangely clear and penetrating, and under the sensual curving nose, a mouth gushing forth with quick wit and good banter."

For Grun, life and art merged; he was a painter because he liked the life, and because he needed to express his clear feelings, coloured, alive of people and the things around them. As Theophilus Gautier said, Grun was "a man for whom the visible world exists".

In the mid-to-late 1930s, Grun became stricken with Parkinson's disease, which served to isolate him from society, and greatly diminished his artistic abilities. He died in 1938. One of the last of the great Belle Epoch poster artists had been taken away from the world. His posters, full of life and of color, contributed largely to the rebirth of the lithography. With Cheret, whose name is inseparable in this field, Jules Alexandre Grun helped transform the scenic landscape of the Parisian streets at the turn of the century.

Full and powerful, almost caricatural, and when he desired, delicate and exquisite. Grun, by his love of painting, and by the diversity of his gifts and subjects, was a complete artist. A Master.

Additional Exhibits for Jules Alexandre Grun
Grun's Career in Posters and Illustrations The Story of how Grun met Guillemet
Grun's Paintings and Dealings with the Salon Analysis: Fin de Souper
The Story of Grun's Bal Tabarin Controversy Analysis: Vendredi au Salon Artistes Francais
Grun's "Self Portraits"

WetCanvas! would like to thank the following for their gracious assistance during our research for this exhibit:

Dr. Samuel Howell of Marion State University
Musee des Beaux-Arts, Rouen France
The Louvre, Paris France
Tim Gadzinski, Poster Auction International
Musee d'Orsay, Paris France
Véronique Humbert, Musée de la Publicité
Bruce Skilbeck, Poster Classics, Sevrier, France

Please direct all inquiries, corrections, and submissions to [email protected].