Cafes and dance halls also served the purpose of "meat markets" in late 19th Century Paris.  Lautrec portrays this side of cafes with stunning frankness.

A Corner of the Moulin
de la Galette

In these two pictures we see women seated at tables. 

A Corner of the Moulin de la Galette shows a dimly lit dance hall. The woman in the foreground looking away from the viewer, in a white paleness echoed by the woman in the background with the same pale, disillusioned face. 

The woman in Tete a Tete Supper, has this big lipstick smile, her eyes groggy from laughter or inebriation, or both.  The colors in this painting are warmer, brighter than the ones in A Corner of the Moulin de la Galette. Compare the woman in Tete a Tete to A la Grenouillere, painted by Renoir in the previous page.  Both are looking at the viewer in a self-assured manner, but this woman looks more dressed-up.  The woman in Lautrec's Tete a Tete is accompanied by a man, whereas Renoir's woman sits happily on her own. 

The cafes and dance halls were certainly meeting places. The woman in Tete a Tete seems to have had better luck than the woman in A Corner of the Moulin de la Galette, who is isolated in the crowd.

Tete a Tete Supper (1889)

Alfred la Guigne (1894)

In these two pieces, Lautrec portrays the "gentlemen" on the prowl. 

Men approached women with unabashed proximity and intimacy.  In both of the following artworks the women are in full color while the "gentlemen" are portrayed primarily in one color: light brown or gray. 

The woman in Alfred la Guigne seems to welcome the man's advances, whereas the women on the print Englishman at the Moulin Rouge seem to scowl at the intrusion and at the Englishman's advances. Impresarios Oller and Zidler jumped on the opportunity to create a dance hall, The Moulin Rouge--a place to rival the popularity of the Folies Bergere. The Moulin Rouge opened in October of 1889 and it soon established itself as the rage of Montmartre night life.

Lautrec became famous for his depiction of these demi monde night scenes, taking place in cafes, in dance halls, at the theater, or in whorehouses.  This frank depiction of the "underground" life shocked the public and went against the "veneer of  respectability" upheld by the Academy.

Englishman at the
Moulin Rouge (1892)

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