Skip to main content
Key facts
Full title Legal Assistance
Artist Jean-Louis Forain
Artist dates 1852 - 1931
Date made probably 1900-12
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 61 x 73 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Sir Hugh Lane Bequest, 1917
Inventory number NG3249
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Legal Assistance
Jean-Louis Forain

Forain worked as an etcher and lithographer, as well as a painter, acquiring a reputation for his satirical, and often biting, scenes of Parisian life. A friend of Manet and Degas, he participated in some of the Impressionists’ exhibitions from 1879 to 1886. His later paintings were mainly scenes from the law courts and of the ballet.

In his law court paintings, Forain’s sympathies lie with ordinary people, who are trapped within a complex and impersonal legal system. Although these scenes are in the tradition of Daumier, Forain avoids obvious caricature (for example, of lawyers and judges) and focuses instead on specific, and often mundane, situations and exchanges. Here, a poor man, accompanied by a little girl and carrying a young child in his arms, hands a paper to his counsel. Forain effectively uses gesture, pose and expression to convey the man’s situation.

The painting was owned by Henri Rouart, whose daughter Hélène was the sitter for Degas’s Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo