A typical and very fine image of the Paris of 1850, with its streets full of improvised stalls in which dealers were selling prints, watercolors and reproductions of famous paintings, mainly produced by the publisher and art dealer Goupil & Vibert. Actually, as many of Maröhn’s watercolors, the present work was initially offered to Goupil & Vibert. Later the same year, Victor Dollet engraved Maröhn’s watercolor for the frontispiece of the Musée des Rieurs, a series of satirical lithographs, re-titling it L’Étalage, and published by Goupil.
A talented watercolorist and painter of the mid-19th c. French school, Ferdinand Maröhn (also called Maronnio) was active both in France and Germany, until 1865. From 1839 to 1842 he exhibited many times at the Berlin Academy, and from 1846 to 1859 he took part in several Parisian Salons. Very popular at that time, Maröhn was a prolific artist whose works have been included in the collections of some French museums like Reims and Ajaccio. His brightly colored oil paintings and watercolors, characterized by a realistic and accurate style, mainly depicted landscapes and folk scenes of the rural daily life in France.
The Pictures’ dealer depicts a mixture of ordinary people with a group of elegant and well-dressed Parisian dandies, looking at a wall cluttered with pictures, recalling the crowded and chaotic atmosphere of the Salons. Themes of the pastoral and military scenes are combined with, portrait and genre paintings, pleasing the widespread taste of the bourgeoisie. A young serviceman in uniform seems most interested while a pretty girl with a charming little cap looks at him surreptitiously. In the front, two boys and one man from the working-class leaf through the large folders of caricatural prints, one with a label Musée des Rieurs. On the right, a town constable on duty, his back turned to the wall, stands rigidly both serious and bored.