French painter, printmaker and illustrator. Around 1860 he moved with his family to Paris, where he was taught by Jacquesson de la Chevreuse (1839-1903), Jean Baptiste Carpeaux and Andre Gill. He participated in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) and was a friend of the poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud; the latter is the presumed subject of a portrait (1874; priv. col., see 1982 exh. cat., no. 1) that may have influenced Manet late portrait of Mallarme (1876; Paris, Louvre). Forain first met Manet through his friendship with Degas in the early 1870s at the salon of Nina de Callias. He continued to associate with Manet, meeting the group of young Impressionists at the Cafe Guerbois and the Cafe de la Nouvelle Athenes. In 1878 Forain painted a small gouache, Cafe Scene (New York, Brooklyn Mus.), which probably influenced Manet Bar at the Folies-Bergere (1881-2; London, Courtauld Inst. Gals).
The Tightrope Walker