Michel Richard-Putz: Minuit au Bal Tabarin, Paris, exhibited 1909.
Minuit au Bal Tabarin, Paris is an extravagant depiction of one of the most shimmering periods in history, the decades before the First World War in France. La Belle Époque, or the beautiful times, was also sometimes referred to as the ‘banquet years’ of Paris. This dynamic painting full of vigorous expressions in color and light portrays the night life of Paris at the Bal Tabarin, one of the city’s infamous café-theaters.
Historians estimate that by 1900 there were about one hundred and fifty café-theaters in Paris. The difference between these and traditional theaters was the complete lack of formality. Members of the audience came and went at will, and any attire was allowed. Performers had to be aggressive and compete with brassy music, smoke, noise, waiters, flower sellers and even audience participation. Bal Tabarin was one of the more famed cabaret theaters located at Montmartre in Paris. It was owned by Pierre Sandrini, who was the son of the renowned prima ballerina, Emma Sandrini. The theater’s heyday was the 1930s when Erte (Romain de Tirtoff) designed costumes for the elaborate floorshows.
The painter Michel Richard-Putz was born in Ichitem, Belgium in 1868. He moved to Paris in the 1880s where he studied with Benjamin Constant and the renowned Jean-Paul Laurens. Richard-Putz exhibited at the Salon of the Société des Artistes Français, and he became a member of that august group in 1908. He specialized in painting scenes of Parisian life but also is known for his classical and historical scenes.