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Valmy and Léa

Valmy and Léa

c. 1885-1895

Jean Béraud

(French, 1849-1935)

Brush and brown wash, heightened with white gouache, over graphite

Support: Beige wove paper, laid down on cardboard

Sheet: 36 x 51.7 cm (14 3/16 x 20 3/8 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2008.407

Description

A forerunner to the cabaret, the café-concert was an irresistible subject for artists working in fin-de-siècle Paris. Here, the performers are illuminated by the unnatural glow of gas footlights, while the musicians in the orchestra, seen mostly from behind, are tucked in the shadowy foreground. The neck of the double base extends above the crowd, drawing the viewer’s eye to the climactic can-can.

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