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Louis Marcoussis (1883 - 1941)



May 4, 2011
New York, NY, US

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LOUIS MARCOUSSIS 1883 - 1941 LULLI Signed with the initials LM (lower left) and dated 1919 (lower right) Oil and gouache on glass 17 1/8 by 9 1/2 in. 43.5 by 24 cm Executed in 1919.


Jean Lafranchis, Marcoussis, sa vie, son oeuvre. Catalogue complet des peintures, fixés sur verre, aquarelles, dessins, gravures, Paris, 1961, no. F.5, illustrated p. 284


Private Collection, London (and sold: Sotheby's, London, December 4, 1996, lot 278)
Acquired at the above sale


Café society in turn-of-the-century Paris was the crucible for debate amongst artists and writers. Long hours of heated exchanges between artists, at times aided by excesses of alcohol, ended in fisticuffs. Still, the trappings of the Parisian cafés provided ample subject matter to be captured by artists. In the present work, a panoply of objects populate a café tabletop providing the viewer with the accoutrements associated with smoke-filled Parisian cafés: a pipe, an Eau de Vie bottle, a candle burning low, a guitar. A piece of sheet music is prominently titled with the name of the Baroque composer to Louis XIV, a libertine named Lulli, both a splendid dancer and a virtuoso on the guitar (see fig. 1). Perhaps the exploits of this lively court composer are being heralded in the rest of the assembled objects, chosen by Marcoussis to remind the viewer of musical evenings and good times past.

The composer Jean-Baptiste Lulli, 1632-1687, engraving

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