My favourite painting: Richard Anderson

Tailor Richard Anderson picks an image of a smartly-dressed gentleman.

Richard Anderson on Portrait of a Man by Jean Béraud

‘About a year ago, I was left this picture by a longstanding customer in their will – an extremely touching gesture, as you can imagine. The customer in question had been a supporter [of Richard Anderson tailors] from day one and always went with my recommendations in terms of fabric and style.

‘The portrait is by Jean Béraud, a famous French painter who was known for his Parisian street scenes. It depicts a man in a suit, so, obviously, the link to me is strong. I love this picture and what it represents.

Richard Anderson is a Savile Row tailor.

Charlotte Mullins comments on Portrait of a Man and the career of Jean Béraud

This anonymous 19th-century man looks as if he has stepped straight out of a novel by Émile Zola. He stands, weight on his front foot, feet sheathed in narrow shoes. His shoulders tip forwards as he keeps his right hand in his pocket, trying to appear nonchalant as he poses for Jean Béraud. In his left hand, he nurses a cigarette, held rather tensely. With his gleaming hair and foppish tie, he could be Charles Baude-laire’s flâneur, a man more at ease strolling aimlessly along the new boulevards that criss-crossed Paris than standing still in a studio.

Béraud was born in St Petersburg, Russia, to French parents and returned to Paris when his father, a sculptor, died. He enrolled in law school, but, after the Franco-Prussian war, switched to study art. Like Édouard Manet, he was fascinated by the modernis-ation of Paris and it became his central subject from the end of the 1870s to the 1890s. Although Béraud was close friends with Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, he, echoing Manet, preferred to exhibit at the academic Salon rather than with the Impres- sionists. In 1889, he became a founding member of the Société des Beaux-Arts.

The broad boulevards built by Baron Hauss-mann, the city’s windswept squares and riverbanks, the outdoor balls, the carriages, the nights at the opera — Béraud painted them all. This small Portrait of a Man, may have been a study for one of these works.

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