The Moulin de la Galette was one of the most famous entertainment venues in Paris at the end of the 19th century. And there were many artists who met there and also those who later painted it, such as the famous painting by Renoir. But it was not the only one. Also the Spanish painter Ramón Casas, based for a few years in the French capital, portrayed this site in the work that accompanies these lines. Or rather he painted one of his regular clients, the woman calledMadeleine Boisguillaime, That is why the painting is also known asLa Madeleine. A woman who also posed on occasion for Toulouse Lautrec.
Au Moulin de la Galette by Ramón Casas
Casas portrayed her in this work from 1892 and paints us a proud woman. She is alone in the bar, where she goes after a hard day's work as a laundress, and there she goes to have a drink or two, she smokes a good cigar and maybe she will be lucky and find company. Bearing in mind that we are talking about a woman from the 19th century, perhaps she could be judged and criticized. However, the artist does not do it with this image, he only wants to portray it. And he gives us the vision of a tired woman who doesn't say everything with her eyes. She has gone there to distract herself for a while, forget about the daily sadness and try to have a good time. And that attitude, with which the painter, also a regular at thesepremises of the Parisian neighborhood of Montmartre, is the one he wants to transmit to us. He does not want to judge her, as if the well-thinkers of the time had done. Although there are also historians who think that Casas used it as a model to illustrate a scene of jealousy, one of those that used to happen in these places. And so he would be staring at a couple that is dancing in the room, and that we can not see
Ramón Casas was a bohemian and spirited paintermodernist, but he tried to draw from different stylistic sources. And one of them, for example, was Manet, to which the mirror we see over the Madeleine somehow refers us. A mirror in which he paints the atmosphere of the premises, just as Manet had done in his painting The Folies Bergere bar, also dominated by a female figure, although in this case a waitress who is standing.
The truth is that the reflection in Casas's work is very successful. It occupies more or less the upper third of the canvas, and we see the ballroom, its upper part, the lamps, etc. All this very sketchy, with a very impressionist technique, unlike the rest of the painting. Because there is much more realism in the presentation of the woman, especially her face, her hairstyle and the red shirt.
Currently, this painting is preserved and exhibited in Museo de Montserrat in Barcelona.