Of the two Catalans, Ramon Casas became a leading figure in the ebullient art scene in Barcelona (it flourished in a manner parallel to Melbourne around the turn of the century) with works now in major museums and private collections. Barrau was less prominent but nevertheless achieved a sound position as a late impressionist painter, mostly of the human figure. Like many of his contemporaries he studied in Paris (under Gerome in the late 1880s) and exhibited in Belgium, France and Spain until 1910 when he settled in Ibiza, where he remained and worked for the rest of his life, focussing mainly on local subjects. He is represented in museums in Spain, Paris, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Rio de Janeiro.
The above painting would probably have been painted In Paris in the 1890s, given the French recipient and the Paris canvas board.
Signature: signed and titled 'a Mll Adrienne / L. Barrau' l.r. (The dedication suggests this work was a gift, and though it is plausible to assume the subject was the recipient, we have not been able to determine either.)
Encyclopedia of Australian Art. all eds (2006 ed, p. 829):
'Tom Roberts studied at the RA Schools in London... in 1883 joined John Peter Russell and his brother Percy, and Will Maloney... in a walking tour with a donkey through Spain perhaps inspired by a similar journey undertaken by R.L. Stephenson. During their epic journey from Bordeaux to Granada they met two Spanish artists, Barrau and Casas who told them about the revolutionary art movements in Paris. French Impressionism, once so vehemently resisted by official salons, was gaining a strong hold.' Alan McCulloch