Le Bateau-Lavoir

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Le Bateau-Lavoir is a name which French painter Max Jacob coined for an area at the top of the steps leading to No. 13 Rue Ravigan, in Montmartre, Paris (Place Emile Goudeau). The area is famous in art history because around the start of the 20th century a group of outstanding artists lived and rented artistic studios there. First artists started to settle at the Bateau-Lavoir in the 1890s but after 1914 (due to the outbreak of World War I) they started to move elsewhere (mainly Montparnasse).

The small square later was named after French singer Émile Goudeau. The buildings were dark and dirty, almost seeming to be scrap piles rather than dwellings. On stormy days they swayed and creaked, reminding people of washing-boats on the nearby Seine River -- hence the name. It has been suggested that the area was a manufacturing facility in the previous century.

Maxime Maufra (1863–1918) was the first noted artist to take up residence in Bateau-Lavoir, around 1890.[1] Kees van Dongen and Pablo Picasso took up residence between 1900 and 1904. After 1904 more artists and writers moved in, including Pierre Mac Orlan, Juan Gris, André Salmon, Pablo Gargallo, Max Jacob and Pierre Reverdy. It became an unofficial club that included artists (Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Marie Laurencin, Amedeo Modigliani, Jean-Paul Laurens, Maurice Utrillo, Jacques Lipchitz, María Blanchard, Jean Metzinger and Louis Marcoussis), writers (Guillaume Apollinaire, Alfred Jarry, Jean Cocteau, Gustave Coquiot, Cremnitz [Maurice Chevrier], Paul Fort, André Warnod, Raymond Radiguet, Gertrude Stein), actors (Charles Dullin, Harry Baur, Gaston Modot), and art dealers (Ambroise Vollard, Edmund Sagot, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and Berthe Weil).

It was in this milieu that Picasso first discussed Cubism. While in Bateau-Lavoir he painted one of his most noted works, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.

Picasso had moved away in 1911. As war loomed in 1914 many occupants moved away.


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