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Legros was a French painter who settled in London in 1863, and from then on exhibited at both the Royal Academy and the Paris Salon. A friend of Manet, Degas and Whistler, he became the main link between French and British avant-garde artists. Legros was initially much influenced by the French Realist painter Gustave Courbet, as can be seen in Le Repas des Pauvres ('The meal of the poor'). From the late 1860s a number of Victorian painters chose to paint 'social realist' subjects of this type to draw attention to the poverty and hardship of working class life.

August 2004