Jean Béraud (January 12, 1849 – October 4, 1935) was a French painter, noted for his paintings of Parisian life during the Belle Époque. He was renowned in Paris society due to his numerous paintings depicting the life of Paris, and the nightlife of Paris society. Pictures of the Champs Elysées, cafés, Montmartre and the banks of the Seine are precisely detailed illustrations of everyday Parisian era of the « Belle Époque ».
Béraud was born in Saint Petersburg. His father was a sculptor and was likely working on the site of St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Following the death of Béraud’s father, the family moved to Paris. Béraud was in the process of being educated as a lawyer until the occupation of Paris during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870.
Béraud became a student of Léon Bonnat, and exhibited his paintings at the Salon for the first time in 1872. However, he did not gain recognition until 1876, with his On the Way Back from the Funeral. He exhibited with the Society of French Watercolorists at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris.
He painted many scenes of Parisian daily life during the Belle Époque in a style that stands somewhere between the academic art of the Salon and that of the Impressionists. He received the Légion d’honneur in 1894.
Béraud’s paintings often included truth-based humour and mockery of late 19th-century Parisian life.
Towards the end of the 19th century, Béraud dedicated less time to his own painting but worked on numerous exhibition committees, including the Salon de la Société Nationale. Béraud never married and had no children. He died in Paris on October 4, 1935, and is buried in Montmartre Cemetery beside his mother.
In France, Béraud was popular, in particular, liked by Guy de Maupassant who called him « adorable’s adversaries » ( Le plus charmant des fantaisistes). He was, together with Rodin and a few others, co-founder of the Société nationale des beaux-arts.