Parisian Rag Pickers
On View: European Art Galleries, 5th floor
In nineteenth-century Paris, people who made a meager living collecting litter, scraps, and debris for salvage and resale were known as rag pickers. Here, Jean-François Raffaëlli depicts a man and woman holding their gathering sacks as they traverse a snow-covered landscape. In the mid-nineteenth century, when medieval Paris was transformed into a modern, commercial capital with wide boulevards and grand architecture, many such marginalized members of the urban lower classes were displaced from the city toward its expanding suburbs, as the bleak landscape in this painting suggests.
Though rag picking was understood as an honest occupation, the advent of widespread official sanitation programs during this time caused many to struggle to maintain the livelihoods they had once known.
Oil and oil crayon on board set into cradled panel
Cradled Panel: 13 3/8 × 11 3/16 × 11/16 in. (34 × 28.4 cm)
frame (Framed in microclimate): 22 1/8 × 20 1/8 × 4 1/4 in. (56.2 × 51.1 × 10.8 cm) (show scale)
Lower left: "J.F. RAFFAËLLI"
Gift of Henry C. Lawrence
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Jean-François Raffaëlli (French, 1850-1924). Parisian Rag Pickers, ca. 1890. Oil and oil crayon on board set into cradled panel, Cradled Panel: 13 3/8 × 11 3/16 × 11/16 in. (34 × 28.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Henry C. Lawrence, 10.88 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 10.88_SL1.jpg)
overall, 10.88_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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