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A Bar at the Folies-Bergère

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Class

The Folies Bergère was a middle-class establishment, a development of and certainly a cut above the 'café-concerts', where acts performed while customers caroused. However, although middle-class, the Folies Bergère suffered neither bourgeois restraint nor artistic froideur. It was emphatically a place of popular entertainment (an attempt to take it upmarket was a a disaster). This was the world of the circus, the pantomime and the sexual innuendo, on a grand scale and at its best. It was left to the intellectuals (Zola on the Hanlon Lees for example) to convert pleasure into principle.

Ref: John House, 'In Front of Manet's Bar: Subverting the Natural', in Bradford R. Collins (ed.), 12 Views of Manet's Bar, Princeton, 1996.

Émile Zola on the Hanlon-Lees
A Brief History of the Folies Bergère
The Café-Concert

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Poster

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