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Esprit Montmartre: Bohemian Life in Paris Around 1900


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Removed from the glamour and over-the-top grandeur of Paris during the French Belle Epoque, the village-like district of Montmartre stood apart for many poets, artists, and composers as the ''other Paris,'' a more rural place on the outskirts of the city. In contrast with the wide boulevards and well-tended parks of Haussmann's Paris, Montmartre possessed stretches of still-vacant land and the infamous maquis packed with the makeshift homes of les miserables.As a bohemian refuge from the relentlessly modern metropolis, Montmartre played an important role for Van Gogh, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and the many other creatives who called the hilltop neighborhood home. While the works of the earlier impressionists tended to mirror the well-heeled bourgeois lifestyle to which they were accustomed, this new generation of post-impressionists captured the idyllic landscapes and quaint corner cafes of Montmartre as well as its harsh realities, including the lives of vagabonds and prostitutes. The more than three hundred paintings reproduced in this volume are organized thematically, with chapters that collect works portraying everyday street scenes, the ''rural city'' and the effects of urbanization, and the raucous Montmartre nightlife, including paintings of the Moulin de la Galette and the legendary Moulin Rouge. The paintings are accompanied by maps and historical photographs, including works by Eugene Atget. A critic of the time once commented on Montmartre that ''the quarter resembles a huge studio.'' Esprit Montmartre explores this rich period of artistic production, the contexts that influenced it, and how these contexts continue to influence the image of the artist and subject today. Hardcover, 320 pages