From the middle of the nineteenth century onwards, the new organisation of working hours contributed to the advent of leisure activities. Paris and the surrounding region became the figurehead for this change in France and Europe. This phenomenon gave Impressionism its heyday, but it was the artists of the next generation, belonging to the “Belle Époque” (1890–1914), who saw a real turning point in the expression of modernity in painting. Leisure activities and shows, by day and night, developed in all directions, attracting an ever-growing public from a variety of social backgrounds. Boating, skating, horse racing, circuses, cabarets, theatres and music halls were all subjects painted by numerous artists: Anquetin, Bonnard, Dufy, Pourtau, Roussel, Toulouse-Lautrec and Vallotton, but also Abel-Truchet, Chabaud, Ibels or Albert André.
Edited by Véronique Serrano, the catalogue includes essays by Julia Csergo, historian of the contemporary world, and Gilles Genty, art historian, provide in-depth insights, each in their own categories, defining the perimeters of this leisure culture of the Belle Époque. Their texts are accompanied by detailed and illustrated studies of all the works on display, bringing together a rich iconographic corpus.
"We have fun in Pairs, and we always will": Gay Paree and the eergence of contemporary leisure activities
Laugh, sing, dance
A whirlwind of leisure activities in the Belle Époque
Véronique Serrano with Mathias Chivot and Gilles Genty