Monday, August 11, 2008

La Goulue of Montmarte, part 2

La Goulue's Fall
By 1895, La Goulue was rich, famous and bored. She announced her departure from the Moulin Rougein Montmarte to set up her own business, investing an enormous sum in a fairground booth and specializing in belly-dancing. She believed that Paris would continue to come to her, but was disappointed in the response. La Goulue without the Moulin Rouge was a failure.

La Goulue drank heavily and eventually she spent all her money on high living, bad investments and drinking. Alcoholic and homeless, she eventually returned to Montmartre, selling peanuts, cigarettes, and matches on the streets. No one recognized the former queen. She died in 1929, telling a priest that she was "La Goulue."

Although most people never heard of La Goulue, her lively, energetic image lives on the work of many artists, most notably the drawings and paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec.


Manon Doyle said...

I enjoyed the story of La Goulue very much. It's always interested me to know the stories of the muses from the paintings of the masters.

Abby Creek Art said...

Amazing...I never knew about her. Thank you for sharing that story, Miss Peggi.:)

Peggi Habets Studio said...

Sad story isn't it? There's another one about Manet's beautiful model in Dejeuner Sur l'Herbe. According to a biography I read, years after the painting was shown, Toulouse-Lautrec heard that the model was living nearby and went to visit her. He was amazed to find that she was a toothless, alcoholic old woman.

redchair said...

Hi Peggy,
This is extraordinary. I love this segment on ‘La Goulue’ and the whole period of the Impressionist and the Moulin Rouge. May I ask where you found the life history on her?
Great blog. I’ll visit again.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this story too, Peggi. Is she the redhead in the Toulouse Lautrec poster? Pity that the photo makes her hair look black.

Peggi Habets Studio said...

Vicki, I found the info first in a bio on Toulouse-Lautrec, then online at wikipedia and this site: http://www.sdmart.org/lautrec/goulue.html.

100swallows, Yes, she is the sassy redhead in the painting. Wouldn't you just love to be transported to that place and time to experience the energy and excitement of it all?

The Logisitician said...

Thanks for providing some context to Renoir. I visited Paris on several occasions, including the Place Pigalle where the Moulin Rouge is located, and Montmatre. Additionally, I lucked up on one of my trips to London, and stumbled on a show of roughly 120 of Renoir's most famous paintings. I was surprised at how many of them were huge, bigger than life. You provided some further appreciation of his characters. Fascinating story re La Goulue. I guess it just goes to show, location, location, location.