“The most accurate testimony of the cafe is in the hands of an aristocrat and the regular elegant parlor of the Montceau Park, Edgars Degas, ahead of Toulouse-Lautrec for a whole decade.
During the last third of the XIX century, before the advent of cinema, the cafes remained a favorite place for Parisians.
The most attractive were, of course, those that opened in the summer, in the fresh air, in gardens illuminated with white gas balls. Degas, who did not like open space, preferred artificial lighting, gas lighting helped him find new solutions. To his Impressionist friends he said: “You need a natural life, to me – artificial.” And yet the scenes from the life of the cafes on his canvases corresponded to the first task posed by the impressionists in front of him-to reflect modernity. Democracy and even a certain vulgarity of the cafes attracted him. Such an atmosphere amused and entertained Degas. There met extraordinary people: ventriloquists, eccentrics, patriots, peasant women, sentimental ladies, epileptics… Types of this kind exist until now, and if you think about it,
Degas had no preferences; he eagerly visited both the elegant establishments on the Champs Elysees, La Scala, Ba-Ta-Clan, Elise-Montmartre, and the questionable pubs of Belleville and La Villet, where he was attracted by unusual silhouettes. Among the celebrities he had favorites, such as Mademoiselle Beck, – Degas captured her concert in the cafe “Ambassador” – or Eugenie Buffet, from the populist-anarchist songs whose hair stood on end, while the mill was amazing. Degas remained the lover of Degas, she made a furor, singing in a loud voice guards songs: “I killed the captain,” “The wife of a cabman,” “I am an interesting woman,” and “Marseillaise,” which caused a storm of applause in the era of chauvinism. Degas was delighted to write to a friend after Theresa’s concert: “She opens her mouth, and from the throat the voice of the most naive, naidelikatneyshe, naively sensitive is born. And the soul of the singer, but her taste, where else can you find something like that? This is just a miracle!”
Passionate passion has borne fruit, Degas had excellent canvases: “Song of the Dog”, “Singer with a Glove”, “Karshantan” … Only in one cafe he did not go – Tabaren, just opposite his house. Yes, the most amazing person was this Mr. Degas, obviously not wanting that neighbors saw him entering a dubious institution. By the way, he rarely made friends with singer-songwriters, but with dancers from the Opera was very close. Probably, the singer was too vulgar for him. Nevertheless, he was so imbued with the life of the cafes, that he could quite competently judge the talent of the singers. His opinion has always been authoritative. “