Le Bateau-Lavoir – Noah’s Ark of Art

Le Bateau-Lavoir (“The Boat Wash-house”) was once a moldy old tenement in a shaded square in the Monmartre district of the 18th arrondissement of Paris, which has taken a prominent place in art history.

Le Bateau-Lavoir, the original building. Source: Google

Christened by the poet Max Jacob, the building became an anchored shelter for such artists and writers as Pablo Picasso, Otto van Rees, Pierre Mac Orlan, Juan Gris, André Salmon, Amedeo Modigliani, Max Jacob and Pierre Reverdy. They stayed there at different periods of time between 1890 and 1914.

Max Jacob, a French poet portrayed by Modigliani. Source: Google

Otto van Rees: “Composition” (ca 1912). Source: Google

Pablo Picasso outside of Le Bateau Lavoir. Source: Google

Modigliani, Picasso and André Salmon in fron of Le Bateau-Lavoir. Souce: Google

The proto-Cubist painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon was painted by Picasso, while he was residing the Bateau-Lavoir under 1900-1909.

Pablo Picasso: “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (1907). Source: Google

Probably Cubism was conceived under the roof of that gloomy shack, which swayed and creaked on its uncertain foundations on stormy days that it reminded one of those washing boats on the Seine.

French poet Pierre Reverdy, whose complete works in their sumptuous bindings made a confession on the shelves of Chanel’s library. Source: Google

Pierre Reverdy signed a book for Coco Chanel, 1951. Source: http://culture.chanel.com/fr/le-parcours-d-exposition/les-confidences-de-l-invisible/pierre-reverdy#top

However, World War I broke out in 1914 and made its own adjustments forcing the residents of the Bateau-Lavoir move elsewhere, mainly to Montparnasse.

In May 1970 the building was destroyed by a fire with only the façade remained. Later in 1978 it was completely rebuilt, leaving all the scandals, disputes, feasts and creatives bursts for the past.

Le Bateau Lavoir is rechristened to Place Émile Goudeau. Source: Google

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