Moulin Rouge

by Lucien Adrion

In this painting, Adrion depicts an evening at the infamous cabaret the Moulin Rouge located in the Montmartre district in Paris, known for attracting the avant-garde artists, poets and literary anarchists of the day. Adrion was especially appreciated for his crowded scenes of Parisian life. The critic Galtier-Boissiére wrote about his work, ‘Il a le sense du movement des foules, du movement de la vie (He has a feeling for the movement of crowds, the movement of life).

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 23.6 x 28.7 ins/ 60.0 x 73.0 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘Adrion’ (upper right)
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 6058 Categories: , , Tags: , , , , , ,

Lucien Adrion was French Post-Impressionist painter, engraver and watercolourist, known for his depictions of Parisian life and landscapes of the French countryside and beaches. Adrion was especially appreciated for his crowded scenes of Parisian life. The critic Galtier-Boissiére wrote about his work, ‘Il a le sense du movement des foules, du movement de la vie (He has a feeling for the movement of crowds, the movement of life).

In this painting, Adrion depicts an evening at the infamous cabaret the Moulin Rouge located in the Montmartre district in Paris, known for attracting the avant-garde artists, poets and literary anarchists of the day.

The Moulin Rouge, in particular, was marked by extravagant shows, inspired by the circus, eccentric attractions and concert dances that became the heart of Parisian nightlife in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Here Adrion uses short brushstrokes of thicker paint and vibrant colours to perfectly capture the lively atmosphere of the dance hall. As the viewer you are positioned as another audience member watching the performance from above, drawn to the centre of the painting where the dancefloor is, transporting you further into the scene.

This piece is a wonderful example of Adrion’s work in general, but also an insight into modern life in Paris in the early 1900’s, as he demonstrates the movement and transience of urban life.

Private Collection, London

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Lucien Adrion was born and raised in Strasbourg, France and began his initial studies working as a technical draughtsman. In 1907 he left his hometown and moved to Paris where he began to work as a fashion illustrator for a large drafting company. However, not long after Adrion decided to pursue a career as an artist instead and travelled to London, Munich and Frankfurt to study the possibilities.

As the First World War broke out, Adrion had to move to Berlin where he studied as an engraver under Hermann Struck, an artist known for his etchings and engravings, and who was also the teacher of Marc Chagall (1887-1985) and Lesser Ury (1861-1931). Adrion remained in Berlin until the end of the war and then returned to his hometown in 1919. Eventually, raising enough money through selling his signed lithographs he moved back to Paris and moved to the neighbourhood of Montparnasse, where he became associated with a number of young Eastern-European painters, including, Chaim Soutine, Pinchus Krémègne and Michel Kikoïne who were to make up the members of the École de Paris group.

In 1921 Adrion had his first solo exhibition, put on by the art dealer Georges Chéron, who also represented artists such as, Modigliani and Fujita, and went on to represent him henceforward.  Adrion’s vivacious style led to great success with the public and critics, as he made his debut at the Salon des Indépendants in 1926. He also showed at the Salon d’Automne in 1940 and at the Salon des Tuileries from 1941. Throughout his career Adrion continued to exhibit his work at the Salon’s in Paris, where his paintings were praised for their ability to capture the movement and transience of urban life.

There is a distinct shift in Adrion’s later style, when bored with his life in Paris he left his relationship with Chéron for Normandy where he focused on painting landscapes. These too were very successful and gained great popularity. Adrion died in Cologne in 1953.

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