Moulin Rouge

Hi everyone! Recently in one of my history classes, we were learning about the Moulin Rouge and it’s significance to the people and artists of France. I was particularly interested in this because I vividly remember learning about this in a Modern Era class. However, in the history class, my professor went into immense detail about the significant figures who contributed to the Moulin Rouge.

Paris_1914_Moulin_RougeI did some reflecting and I realized that a large portion of modern art revolves around cabarets and the Moulin Rouge. Among these artists was Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.  I did a blog post about Lautrec and two of his works regarding the Rouge, but I wanted to go into more detail as I’m learning more about this.

Lautrec was basically the advising manager of the Moulin Rouge, although I’m not sure if he had that official title. Much of his artwork revolves around the life, attenders, artists, and workers of the Moulin Rouge.

Here are also a handful of beautiful lithographes and a painting, from the MET, that reflect some of the nightlife Lautrec saw at the Rouge:

The artwork that I wanted to go over today is Lautrec’s At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance created in 1889-90.

I’ve previously talked about this in the other blog post, but I wanted to provide some more detail that I have discovered from my history class.

What I’ve learned in class is that the two figures in the foreground are not a  random couple dancing, but two popular cabaret dancers. The women dancing is the famous Louise Weber, better known as La Goulue. Dancing across from her was the famous Jacques Renaudin, also known as Valentine the Boneless (Valentin le désossé). These two figures were stars in the cabaret world.

Having some more background on this painting makes me particularly interested in the French culture of the time. The cabaret was a huge success in the popular culture of France. The cabaret was adopted by other countries, but France had a more open and carefree environment compared to other countries.

Additionally, even though the Rouge has changed from the late 19th century, the theater is still in Paris. Click HERE to see a 360 Panorama.


Feature Image from Christie’s 

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