Bohemians in Paris around 1900
Henri Evenepoel (1872-1899), Le Café d’Harcourt à Paris, 1897. © U. Edelmann, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main.
The exhibition has set out to convey a sense of the special Montmartre atmosphere. More than two hundred works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Suzanne Valadon, Edgar Degas and others will lure visitors into the milieu of the Parisian “bohème” around the turn of the century. Historical photographs and numerous posters and prints will shed light on further facets of one of the most colorful chapters in the history of art, but also one with which countless clichés are associated. Yet to reduce Montmartre to these familiar images means to overlook the realism with which the artists recorded everyday life there. They were people who had consciously chosen to dissociate themselves outwardly from the bourgeoisie by embarking on lives as poor bohemians on the fringe of society. Their striking portraits of outsiders, thieves, beggars, street artists, prostitutes and drinkers mirrored their new perception of themselves. The exhibition will investigate the sociological circumstances of the period in question and its new definition of the role of the artist.