European Art

Montmartre – The Home to Many Artists

Pola Otterstein 31 March 2022 min Read

Montmartre – the home to many inspirations was the most artistic district of Paris. It is also known as the “heart of the city” and it surely doesn’t need to be introduced to anyone. It is not only a magical place with the best views over the city, but a historical place where countless works of art were born over the centuries.

Vegetable Gardens in Montmartre: La Butte Montmartre, Vincent van Gogh, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Montmartre - the Home to Many Inspirations
Vincent van Gogh, La Butte Montmartre, 1887, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

During the Belle Époque, the period spanning the last several decades of the 19th century up until World War I, Montmartre was an area of reasonably priced apartments and a pleasant atmosphere, conducive to the creation of art. It was a place of many social gatherings, often accompanied by live piano music and characterized by deep conversations.

In Montmartre artists were meeting in Le Bateau-Lavoir. Artists such as Théophile Steinlen, Amadeo Modigliani, Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas or Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec chose to work or live there. There were also two artists’ associations active in Montmartre – Les Nabis, a group of Post-Impressionists, as well as Les Incohérents, the avant-gardists.

Pablo Picasso in his studio in Le Bateu-Lavoir, 1900, Montmartre - the Home to Many Inspirations
Pablo Picasso in his studio in Le Bateu-Lavoir, 1900. Pinterest.
La Goulue arriving at the Moulin Rouge, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1891-92, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Montmartre - the Home to Many Inspirations
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, La Goulue arriving at the Moulin Rouge, 1891-92, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA.
Garden in the Rue Cortot, Monmartre, Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876, Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Montmartre - The Home to Many Inspirations
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Garden in the Rue Cortot, Montmartre, 1876, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Foreigners Camille Pissarro and Pablo Picasso were also enchanted with this unearthly, fashionable area. The latter created one of his most famous pieces there – Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA.
Camille Pissarro, The Boulevard Montmartre at Night, 1897, National Gallery, London, UK.

Of particular note is the fact that the current Musée de Montmartre, located on Rue Cortot, was the first home of Pierre-Auguste Renoir.


Italian Abstract Art Peggy Guggenheim on the staircase of the Venice City Hall on February 5, 1962, the day she was named Honorary Citizen of Venice. On the right are Italian artists Emilio Vedova and Giuseppe Santomaso. | © Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche/Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation European Art

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