"Bernard Lamotte’s Moulin Rouge demands your attention with its striking contrast of black and red. I love the immediacy of the composition. Compared to his street scenes, which explore the meandering alleys of his beloved Paris, the foreground and background of Moulin Rouge are compressed and relatively flat. The bold colors, clarity of composition, and distinctive size suggest that this work was intended as a sketch for a theatrical set design, which Lamotte occasionally did as a member of the United Scenic Artists. Fortunately, the potential scale of the set did not preclude his talent for detail. I love finding touches like the drowsing carriage driver or the pale reflections in the slick pavement, which firmly ground the glitz and glamour of the bustling theater in the everyday."
-Molly Burroughs, Gallery Assistant
More information about this painting...
Lamotte was a member of the United Scenic Artists and created set designs for theatrical productions. One might imagine that Moulin Rouge, in which he skillfully rendered the sparkling lights and crowds of people teeming the entrance of the famed cabaret theatre, may have been intended for a similar stage production. Working in gouache and ink, rather than a heavier oil medium, he was able to capture the atmosphere of a Parisian evening with charming details, such as the dozing carriage driver and the glowing signs of the neighboring restaurant. Although a record of a musical using this backdrop remains elusive, the piece bears a United Scenic Artists stamp and the size relates to similar theatre backdrop proposals created by Lamotte for other productions.
Small auction, Hudson, New York
To private collection, Plainfield, Connecticut, and Boston, Massachusetts, March 2019 to present
(verso of board in pencil) Mr Mai— (illegible)
(stamp verso of board) UNITED SCENIC ARTISTS / LOCAL 829 Signature Bernard Lamotte