Henry Jules Jean Geoffroy

(French, 1853-1924)

Jean Geoffroy was a unique, well-known, and successful Academic French artist active in Paris during the last quarter of the nineteenth- and first-quarter of the twentieth-centuries. Geoffroy’s name (signed most often ‘Geo’) is synonymous with charming depictions of Breton children and Breton town life. Though he was proficiently versed in numerous artistic media, including drawing, etching, watercolor, and oil; and most subject matter, Jean Geoffroy was most attracted to the study and depiction of children in everyday settings. The artist portrayed a myriad of situations, indoors and out, including: playing games; frolicking in the park; observing puppet or other traveling acts; at market, at the nursery, or attending school lessons. In most instances his subjects, though obviously young children, appear as miniature-versions of ladies and gentlemen. Jean Geoffroy never sought to idealize his subjects; rather, his aim for the picturesque was achieved through capturing spontaneity and clever points-of-view unique to childhood folly. His quick drawings and en plein air technique were precisely the techniques for depicting the moods of his subjects. Geoffroy’s works garnered the admiration and support of connoisseurs throughout Paris. He was frequently commissioned by well-to-do families to paint portraits of their little ones.