The Goulue hut and the Bullier ball

The Goulue hut and the Bullier ball

  • The Bullier ball.

    MEUNIER Georges (1869 - 1942)

  • Dancing at the Moulin Rouge.

    TOULOUSE-LAUTREC by Henri (1864 - 1901)

  • Moorish dance or Les Almées.

    TOULOUSE-LAUTREC by Henri (1864 - 1901)

© Library of Contemporary International Documentation / MHC

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Title: Dancing at the Moulin Rouge.

Author : TOULOUSE-LAUTREC by Henri (1864 - 1901)

Creation date : 1895

Date shown: 1895

Dimensions: Height 285 - Width 307.5

Technique and other indications: Panel for the Goulue hut, at the Foire du Trône in Paris.Oil on canvas.

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowskisite web

Picture reference: 93-000970-02 / RF2826

Dancing at the Moulin Rouge.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

To close

Title: Moorish dance or Les Almées.

Author : TOULOUSE-LAUTREC by Henri (1864 - 1901)

Creation date : 1895

Date shown: 1895

Dimensions: Height 298 - Width 316

Technique and other indications: Panel for the Goulue hut, at the Foire du Trône in Paris.Oil on canvas.

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowskisite web

Picture reference: 93-000971-02 / RF2826

Moorish dance or Les Almées.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

Publication date: October 2006

Historical context

The rise of shows in Belle Époque Paris

Under the leadership of Baron Haussmann, Paris underwent a profound transformation during the second half of the 19th century. The "City of Light" shines as much for the brilliance of its monuments as for the fires of its artistic movements, which attract designers from all over the world. The variety of shows that make up the "Parisian night" further broadens the aura of the capital. Cabarets of chansonniers, café-concerts, first reviews and popular balls (large winter rooms or summer gardens) welcome the bourgeoisie as well as the popular classes.

The Bal Bullier, built in 1847 avenue du Montparnasse, on the site of the present Closerie des Lilas, was for half a century the biggest ball in Paris. There triumphs the "heckling", also called "cancan" or "French cancan". It is an unbridled form of quadrille, a couple dance in which debauchery of energy and daring gymnastic variations count as much as provocations and erotic suggestion.

Contemporaries agreed on the Goulue (Louise Weber, born 1866) queen of cancan. Lautrec's radically new feature, familiar from the underworld of cabarets, contrasts with the pictorial tradition initiated by Chéret and continued by Meunier.

Image Analysis

Popular balls and "Parisian night"

In the poster for the Bullier ball, Georges Meunier appropriates the style of his master Chéret, for whom lightness and fluidity take precedence over expressiveness. The poster designer prefers the shade of the gradients to the contrast. Only the central figure of the dancer stands out clearly thanks to a skilful use of white, black and yellow - a technique recently imposed by Toulouse-Lautrec. But neither the face of the young woman, lost under the frills and barely drawn, nor her rather innocuous dance steps allow her to be identified. Likewise, where Lautrec would have sketched a recognizable Boneless Valentin, Meunier prefers to suggest in gray a dancer more joyful than acrobatic, more bourgeois than bohemian.

The two panels painted in 1895 by Toulouse-Lautrec at the request of La Goulue deliver a less ethereal vision of the Parisian festival. The artist traces the destiny of the cancan dancer and at the same time celebrates an already vanished Parisian night. The left panel, a reference to La Goulue's glorious past, is less colorful than the right panel, dedicated to its present. On the left, the dancer, all in muscles, effort and curves, begins her quadrille step - and her dazzling notoriety. In the foreground appears his famous partner, Valentin the Boneless. The large black and gray brush strokes draw less of a portrait than a schematic puppet, where only the protruding bones of the silhouette immortalized by Toulouse-Lautrec on a poster for the Moulin-Rouge stand out. The whole movement, vigorously outlined, and the presence of identifiable figures among the audience (Jane Avril and her big hat) deliver in short the essence of the quadrille era.

On the right panel, Toulouse-Lautrec represented the show offered by La Goulue in her hut: a belly dance. If pink volutes set the tone of the Orient, as do the musicians seated around the dancer, La Goulue does not seem to match this setting. His costume is not really Moorish or even exotic; above all, she lifts her leg very high as in a quadrille, unrelated to the undulating belly dance. Finally, the artist and his friends, witnesses of a bygone era, take the place of assistance: Paul Seseau at the piano, Maurice Guibert in profile, Oscar Wilde in the back (the only one deprived of color), Jane Avril and her hat, Lautrec himself - his small size, his scarf and his bowler - and finally Félix Fénéon.

Interpretation

Entertainment industry and artistic creation

The rise of cabarets and other Parisian "caf'conc" dates back to 1867, when the law governing shows now allows all kinds of costumes, dances and acrobatics. At the same time, in 1866, Chéret designed his first poster and distributed it using the color lithography technique, invented in 1837. Printed in a few hundred copies, they developed an unprecedented advertisement for some one hundred and fifty Parisian theaters. of the time. If Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) is opposed in style to Jules Chéret (1836-1932), Georges Meunier (1869-1934) was his student. In the poster for the Bullier ball, no saucy other than that permitted by "good taste": the dancer's skin is almost the same color as the background of the poster, shoulders and thighs remain covered. At the Ball Bullier, we probably don't look for the debauchery - energy, eroticism, alcohol or drugs - which characterizes certain rooms in Montmartre. At the end of the 19th century, the association of the entertainment industry, poster art and artistic creation marked the emergence of an eminently "modern" phenomenon.

  • cabarets
  • dance
  • Hobbies
  • Paris
  • eroticism
  • publicity
  • Sand (George)
  • Montmartre
  • Wilde (Oscar)

Bibliography

Jacques CHARLES, One hundred years of music hall. General history of the music hall, from its origins to the present day in Great Britain, France and the USA, Paris, Jeheber, 1956.Concetta CONDEMI, Cafés-concerts. Entertainment story (1849-1914), Paris, Quai Voltaire, 1992.Jacques FESCHOTTE, History of the music hall, Paris, P.U.F., coll. "What do I know? », 1965 Alain JAUBERT, La Baraque de la Goulue at the Throne Fair, 31-minute documentary film, coll. "Palettes", Paris, La Sept-FR3-Musée d´Orsay-Delta Image, 1992. Jean-Claude KLEIN, The Song is showing. History of French song from the café-concert to the present day, Paris, Du May, 1991.Alain WEILL, The Café-concert, 1870-1914. Posters from the library of the Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris, U.C.A.D., 1977.Toulouse Lautrec, catalog of the Grand Palais exhibition, February 18-June 1, 1992, Paris, R.M.N., 1992.

To cite this article

Alexandre SUMPF, "La hut de la Goulue and the Bullier ball"


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