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AU LAPIN AGILE: PICASSO'S FAVORITE CABARET

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Pablo Picasso’s 1905 painting, "At The Lapin Agile", now hangs in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In the painting, Picasso is dressed as a Harlequin, seated at the bar of Au Lapin Agile, with the owner of the cabaret, Frede, playing the guitar in the background.

Montmartre at the turn of the 20th century, was the artistic heart of Paris and the Lapin Agile kept it beating. Artists, writers and musicians came together here, to entertain, be entertained and to drink together.

The cabaret dates back to the 1860’s and its name has an interesting history. It was originally called Cabaret des Assassins, relating to a murder which took place on the premises. But in 1875 an artist named Andre Gill, known for his caricatures of contemporaries such as Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo, painted a sign of a rabbit jumping out of a cooking pot and the cabaret began to be called Le Lapin a Gill (Gill’s Rabbit). The name eventually morphed to become Au Lapin Agile (The Agile Rabbit).

One can still come here for traditional French folk music, chansons, and for a glimpse into the rich history of the hilltop village called Montmartre.

Au Lapin Agile
22 rue des Saules
18th Arrondisement
Metro: Lamarck Caulaincourt
www.au-lapin-agile.com

What exactly is a cabaret? The French word, in the second half of the 19th century, came to mean an establishment which served liquor and was a convivial meeting place for artists, writers, poets, singers, philosophers and the public at large. Folk songs were sung with patron participation and performers of all sorts were encouraged to entertain in an intimate environment of camaraderie.

Monmartre was the site of the first Parisian cabarets. In the 1900’s it was a hilly outpost, with dirt roads, windmills and its share of seedy characters. But as rents began to soar in the French capital, artistic souls found their way to the suburb, which was reputed to be affordable and supportive of creative and bohemian types.

Even if you’ve never heard of Le Chat Noir, you have probably seen the famous poster entitled, “Tournee du Chat Noir” by the artist, Theophile Steinlen.

On November 18, 1881 at 84 Boulevard Rouchechouart, artist and poet Rodolphe Salis officially opened his destined-to-be-famous cabaret/artist salon.

He had already been welcoming diverse artists weekly, to his apartment, for drinks and readings, songs and intellectual debates, but moved into the building next door to enjoy tremendous success as the cabaret, Le Chat Noir.

Shortly thereafter, Salis was publishing his own magazine and boasted such famous patrons as Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, Paul Signac and Guy de Maupassant.

Le Chat Noir closed in 1897, the year of Salis’s death, and it is said that when Pablo Picasso arrived in Paris for the Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) in 1900, he was saddened to find it gone.



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hi i have 2 old paintings of

hi i have 2 old paintings of this pub one is of the inside were a few men and women sitting around tables and a gentleman playing the banjo i think the artist is H toumley also

hi i have two old paintings

hi i have two old paintings of this pub one is inside were there are men and women inside the cabaret around a table and also a gentleman playing the banjo and i think the painting is by h toumey

la aplin a gill

I have an old painting of this cabaret with a few men sitting at tables and ones playing a banjo. Think the painter is h toumey? its been in the family for years and im trying to research it. Can you help please i need to know if its original because picasso is famous for visting this place.

thanking you claire

Claire, I recommend you

Claire, I recommend you contact an art historian and send a photo of the painting along with an email. Good luck!

Picasso

I am wondering if you have a legitimate source for the following statement:

Le Chat Noir closed in 1897, the year of Salis’s death, and it is said that when Pablo Picasso arrived in Paris for the Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) in 1900, he was saddened to find it gone.

I am doing some research on Picasso and would like to know what book this might have come out of. Thanks!

Picasso

Thank you for your inquiry. The information gathered for this article came from books and historical articles written both about the life of Picasso and Paris during this period. With so much source material to comb through, it would be very difficult for us to pinpoint exactly where this research was derived from. Good luck with your project and thank you for taking the time to peruse our site.

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