Friday, September 21, 2018

"Too Loose?"

8 x 10"
oil on panel

Stand close to a painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec because there is much to see besides the general color scheme or composition.  You are probably familiar with this artist, his deformities, his alcoholism and his short stature but picture this man lost in a crowded bar, observing everything and everybody at the same time painting his masterpieces.

So... instead of a brief summary of things you already know about Toulouse-Lautrec, I'll give you a little background on the painting to the right of the museum patron - A Corner of the Moulin de la Galette, which was a popular location and subject matter for other artists in Paris like Pissaro, van Gogh and Renoir.

At a high point in the Montmartre district of Paris, one, of 12 windmills around the city, was built in 1622 - milling flour, specifically for a brown bread called galette.  The Moulin de la Galette is one of two remaining windmills, saved from destruction in 1915 and later moved to the corner.

The original owner of the mill was killed during the Franco-Prussian War and his surviving son turned the mill into a guinguette, a restaurant, that quickly became THE place to take a family on holidays and Sundays to enjoy the brown bread and a glass of milk from the local dairy.  In the mid 1800's, they replaced milk with locally made wine, bought an adjacent property and added an open-air dance hall and the windmill became a cabaret that was wildly popular with the locals, artists, writers, actors and tourists.  The photo above shows the present-day restaurant still named Moulin de la Galette with the restored original windmill built in 1622.  Amazing.

Please click here for a larger view.

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