DBD 06-02-2022: Café

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This is Degas’ “L’Absinthe” - originally called “Dan un Cafe” (in a cafe) - a 1876 impressionist painting that was scandalous at the time. It’s a scene of two people sitting at a Parisian cafe. Contemporaries would recognize that they are not dressed fashionably, are unkept and slouching, have dour/tired looks on their faces, and the lady has the titular green cocktail in front of her. These are not happy aristocrats enjoying Paris life. These are Parisian “demi-monde” - people on the fringe of respectable society - weighed down by lethargy and low vice. This would be like painting potheads today. It is meant to be a snapshot of real life - not idealized life. The painting was shown in England first and was put into storage because reception was so bad. It was shown twice again 16 years later and the reception was even worse to Victorian English morality. It is now in the permanent collection of the Musee dOrsay.