Born Ernest Salmon in Paris in 1864, he would adopt the pseudonym of Robert Noir after 1912. The surname Noir was taken from his uncle the writer and journalist Victor Noir who was killed by Napoleon Bonaparte’s cousin Prince Pierre Bonaparte in a duel. Noir’s initial studies were taken under the guidance of the painters Yvon and Castellani but the young painter soon adopted his own style. Success quickly followed and by 1884 he was exhibiting his work at the Salon des Artistes Francais where he would continue to exhibit throughout his life. In1918 he was given a one-man exhibition at the Galerie Devambez in Paris to huge acclaim. This exposure cemented his position within the Paris art community. His figural paintings after World War One frequently depicted scenes from the lower echelons of Parisian life, the street children, vagabonds, prostitutes and drunkards. These were handled, however, with a sensitivity using pastel colors and an impressionist palette. This particular work dates to 1926 and shows a café scene probably near Montmartre. The appreciation of his work was highlighted through two important retrospective exhibitions held in France The first in 1981 at the Salon de la Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts and three years later at the Musee de Vernon.