Arno, the artist who painted the watercolour reproduced in this offset lithograph, is a complete mystery. There is absolutely NO information about him on the internet, and nobody seems to know who he is, or if he is still alive...
I searched the Internet for hours, and all I found was people asking questions about him in forums and wondering who he was, or people thinking he was Arno Beijk, the Dutch artist (I have contacted him and he confirmed that he is not the artist behind these paintings), or even Peter Arno, the American cartoonist. Even on Auction houses' websites specialized in Art, the listing just informs potential bidders that the lithograph was made by "an artist signing the works 'Arno' "
There is a certain number of his lithographs for sale here and there, I would not say it is common to see them, but they are not rare.
I guess he must have been a street artist in the 1950s and 1960s in Paris, and is now forgotten. As his work represents tourist places in Paris, he might have been an artist working in Montmartre, on Place du Tertre. Because he was apparently selling to tourists, you find more choice on British or American websites than on French websites.
The price of this item reflects the absence of knowledge about the artist.
Paris has always been full of wonderful painters who capture beautiful scenes of the fine city. You can see them in Montmartre, of course, at the Place du Tertre, but also near the Eiffel Tower, Place des Vosges, near bridges, in parks...
This print represents the cabaret Moulin Rouge, situated near Montmartre neighbourhood in Paris, where you can see Cancan shows.
The print is estimated 1960s.
The title and the signature are clearly visible, which is not always the case when Arno prints are placed in a frame.
The print's wooden frame has been painted in white as they sometimes did in the 1960s, with a glass protection. The picture was framed in England, in Boots' picture framing department (there is a label at the back of the frame).
The frame shows a few signs of age (the top right corner is a bit damaged, the top left corner looks much better but also shows light signs of age), the white part of the frame does not show too many signs of dirt, but is not perfectly clean either (I prefer not to touch it and leave it as it is) and the back of the frame looks alright.
The print has never been removed from the frame, so I do not know if something is written on the back.
Arno's watercolours are so well reproduced in prints that they really look like the original paintings, but although I haven't removed the print from the frame to inspect it closely with a magnifying glass (this is what is advised to recognize a print from an original watercolour), and although I am not an art expert, I am pretty confident that this is a print and not an original watercolour.
Dimensions of the frame (I can not guarantee that the print has exactly the same dimensions) : 38.7 cm x 19.6 cm x 1.8 cm
Weight (without protection and packaging): 665 g
Here is what the scene looks like nowadays:
(Source of the image: Google Maps)
You can recognize the café on the left, and the building on the right of the cabaret, with its red decoration.
On the left of the cabaret, you can see a green "colonne Morris", which is a cylindrical structure commonly used in Paris to advertize shows, theatre plays, concerts, exhibitions... and anything cultural. They are not used to advertize products and brands. They are always green (except on the picture below...).