Paul Renouard (1845-1924)

French artist (Charles-) Paul Renouard (1845-1924) arrived in London in the 1890's to document the happenings of London society. A society artist if ever there was one, Renouard was fascinated by social types and events. He sketched theater-goers and performers at the Paris Opera and London’s Theater Royal in Drury Lane, publishing a luxury album of etchings—L’Opéra—made in Paris and exhibiting his pen and ink sketches of actors at Paris’ 1877 Salon. Renouard also sketched policemen and defendants at one of London’s many police courts. Above all, however, Renouard was drawn to depicting members of the working class: “perhaps the realm he preferred above all others...was that of the poor and the oppressed, whether it be the working poor...or the scrofulous inhabitants of the bas-fonds.”Renouard’s genuine sympathy for human suffering and frailty is clearly illustrated in his drawings for The Graphic, which present misfortune and poverty not as a novelty but, rather, as a tragedy deserving of the attention of those with the means to remedy it.