1871-1914

From one war to another

The Dreyfus affair was the moment that redefined the French Left between the two wars against Germany

Anarchism, Socialism, Paris Exhibition, Dreyfus, Revolutionary syndicalism – in progress

Boulevard de Clichy

Arrondissements: 9, 18

Numbers 4, 6, 11, 20, 36, 62, 64, 82, 104, 122,130

Boulevard de Clichy painted by Van Gogh March-April 1887.

In 1864 Haussmann prolonged the Clichy Boulevard by extending it with the Boulevard des Martyrs and the Boulevard Pigalle. These were the old broad roads that had followed the 18th century tax farmers’ wall around Paris and which had helped lead to the 1789 French Revolution.

When it was still called the Boulevard Pigalle, Daumier lived at what is now 36 Boulevard de Clichy from roughly 1859 to 1863.

Just to the south of the Montmartre hill the Boulevard was the border between a more expensive inner-Paris and a cheaper area for artists to live in and bars serving tax-free booze. Its even numbers on its northern Montmartre side are in the 18th arrondissement, and the odd numbers in the 9th.

Auguste Renoir lived at No. 11 in 1887, when he painted ‘The swing’, featuring his brother Edmond and Norbert Goeneutte, a painter who illustrated Zola‘s novel, Earth.

From 1886 to 1888, Paul Signac‘s studio was at No. 130. He then moved his studio to No. 20 from 1889 to 1891, where Georges Seurat‘s meetings of the Pointilliste artists used to take place on Mondays.

The painting by Vincent van Gogh of the Boulevard de Clichy at the head of this piece was painted when Vincent had just joined his brother Theo in March 1887, staying close by on the Rue de Laval and then from June in the Rue Lepic. Van Gogh was often at No. 62, the Café du Tambourin, where he gave the owner some of his earliest paintings in exchange for meals, and his first exhibition took place. and Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec and others also used to eat there.

When he first arrived in Paris in May 1901, Picasso lived in the 6th floor studio at No. 130ter until 1904 during his ‘blue period’. He later lived at No. 11 from 1909 to 1912; for the last five years of his life Edgar Degas (1834-1917) lived on the fifth floor of No. 6, where he died aged 83.

No. 4 used to be the anarchist bookshop belonging to Jules Erelbach, the man known as Ducret who was murdered by Léon Lacombe for allegedly betraying Garnier, one of the Bonnot gang in 1912. Victor Serge was later sentenced to five years imprisonment for his journalistic support for the gang.

In 1928 Jacques Prévert and his wife Simone lived at No. 64, the Hôtel le Radio. While there he wrote some of his first poems, and was visited by André Breton.

The Moulin Rouge was built in 1889 at No. 82-90 on the site of the White Queen ballroom, where Georges Clemenceau and Louise Michel both attended a big political meeting at the close of the Second Empire in 1870.

In the mid-1920s the Café Le Cyrano at No 82 became the headquarters of the surrealists around Breton.

In the 1950s, Fernand Léger set up an art school studio at No 104, where he taught with his second wife Nadia.

In the middle of the boulevard outside No. 122 there is the base of a statue of Charles Fourier (1772-1837). The utopian socialist thinker was sculpted by the anarchist Émile Derré but the statue was destroyed by the Germans in 1942 to be melted down for armaments

Fourier by Franck Scurti and a century earlier by Emile Derre. Fourier’s argument was that there was something fundamentally wrong with an economic system that sold an apple in Paris at 100 times the price it was sold in Rouen. The huge apple was erected there in 2011.

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PLACES

Art

Gustave Courbet sketched this self-portrait at Sainte-Pélagie prison after the defeat of the Paris Commune in 1871. He was one of many artists who supported the Commune and is in a line of socialist, anarchist and communist artists who lived and/or worked in Paris and contributed their visions of a world transformed

References to include: Eugène Delacroix

In 1895 Toulouse-Lautrec painted one of a series he had begun in 1889 commissioned by the Moulin Rouge at the Place Blanche. In it he inserted (bottom right) tributes to the editor of La Revue Blanche, Félix Fénéon, and to his friend, Oscar Wilde (second bottom left), whom he had met and painted in London the day before Wilde was jailed for indecency.
Portrait of Felix Feneon by his former fellow political prisoner charged with anarchist sympathies Maximilien Luce. This was pained in 1901