The painter, etcher, lithographer, illustrator, and sculptor Jean-François Raffaëlli was born on April 20, 1850 in Paris. Before Raffaëlli dedicated himself to painting under Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824 – 1904) in art class, he became an actor.
The artist celebrated his artistic début in 1870 at the salon with a landscape painting. In 1876, he took a trip to Great Britain. Jean-François Raffaëlli looked for the themes of his genre pictures in the life of the normal human being in the Parisian suburbs. He depicted the landscape and the types of people in the Parisian precincts. Starting in 1879, he began painting the picturesque views of the idyllic Parisian neighborhood.
Jean-François Raffaëlli created a good reputation for himself with his first individual exhibition in 1884 and was appointed to be an honorary member of the salon. In addition, he received a gold medal at the Parisian World Exhibition of 1889. With the help of Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917), the artist gained the acceptance of the impressionist exhibitions in 1890-91. He experiences a lasting influence from the painters of impressionism, especially from Claude Monet (1840 – 1926). However, Jean-François Raffaëlli developed his very own and unique system of brush strokes. He created his etchings in color with a similar technique. In the following period, he became a member of the Société des Beaux-Arts. In 1906, he was made an officer of the Legion of Honor. He was the inventor of the Raffaëlli oil sticks.
Jean-François Raffaëlli died on February 29, 1924 in Paris.