So back to my post on The Clark Art Museum on the Henri Toulouse Lautrec Exhibit. So there was this painting by Henry Somm as part of the french city life exhibit and it was beautiful. I cant find a good picture on the internet except for this small one but it was a watercolor and ink painting.
It was titled “Moulin de la Galette.” I wrote down the info and looked it up when I came home and remembered that I had seen other paintings titled that. The moulin de la Galette was a place people went to dance and enjoy themselves in Paris. It was different from Moulin Rouge because it wasnt a show you went to see. I just love love all these paintings. It makes me want to be part of this time period and I am really really excited to see it in person in a couple weeks. I mean how cool to be a place that so many famous artist painted!! Here is a brief history of the Moulin de la Galette from wikipedia…
The Moulin de la Galette is made up of two mills: “Blute-fin” and “Radet”. The first mentioned name of the mill was “Palace windmill” in 1622. The Debray family acquired the two mills in 1809 for producing flour. But it was also used to pressurize the harvest or grind materials needed for manufacturing. The Parisian people appreciated it as Sunday walking goal.
The windmill “Blute-fin” was build in 1622 and often repaired. The name comes from the French verb “bluter” which means sifting flour for the separation from bran.
At the end of the Napoleon empire, in 1814, during the siege of Paris one of the Debray brothers strongly defended the windmill against Cossacks. They killed him and nailed him to the wings of the windmill.
In 1870, the owner Charles-Nicolas Debray, added a guinguette with a dancing room, and called it “Moulin de la Galette” in 1895. The “galette”, is a small rye bread that Debray millers made and sold with a glass of milk. Now, in French, “galette” is the name of cake. In 1830, they replaced milk with wine (especially the local Montmartre wine) and the windmill by a cabaret.
The atmosphere was relaxed and customers more popular than in other establishments such as “Moulin Rouge”. People came to “Moulin de la Galette” for enjoying and dancing. In “Moulin Rouge”, with a windmill-like building in a low-altitude place without wind, people came to see a show with professional dancers.
Then the place was used as music-hall, radio and television studios. It was closed in 1974, at the end of the ORTF (French public TV). It is now a private property.
The windmill “Radet” was built in 1717. In the 19th century, it was transformed into a guinguette on Sundays and public holidays. An association “Friends of Old Montmartre” saved it from destruction in 1915.
Here are some other paintings about the Moulin de la Galette…
Poster for Moulin de la Galette…