Jean-Louis Forain 1852-1931
N03288 Le Tribunal (The Court of Justice) c.1902-3
Inscribed 'forain' b.r.
Oil on canvas, 23 ¾ x 28 ¾ (60.5 x 73)
Purchased at the Degas sale (Special Grant-in-Aid) 1918
Prov: Edgar Degas, Paris; sale of the Degas collection, Petit, Paris, 26-27 March 1918, lot 38 as 'Le Tribunal'
Exh: Forain (1852-1931), Browse and Darby Ltd., London, May-June 1978 (15), dated c.1901
Lit: Lillian Browse, Forain; the Painter 1852-1931 (London 1978), p.50
Repr: National Gallery, Millbank, A Record of Ten Years, 1917-27 (Glasgow 1927), p.88; John Rothenstein, Modern Foreign Pictures in the Tate Gallery (London 1947), pl.51
Forain began to paint law-court scenes by 1902 and one of them, perhaps the first, was reproduced in the special Forain issue of Le Figaro illustré in February that year. The present work is clearly later than three dated paintings of theatrical scenes of 1899 reproduced in the same issue and has a bolder, more incisive simplification which is said in the accompanying article to be characteristic of his most recent drawings. Degas probably acquired it direct from the artist, but there is no entry for it in Degas' manuscript catalogue of his own collection.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.223, reproduced p.223