Chapter 15 – The Little Gentleman
“Blasphemy!” said Toulouse-Lautrec. “It is accepted science that God himself gave the French the gift of their cuisine, and while he was downstairs, cursed the English with theirs.”
Henri really means it. This is Toulouse-Lautrec’s cookbook, which he wrote and illustrated.
It’s a terrific book, just to look at, but unfortunately, it’s out of print. My friend Kathe Frahm lent this copy to me.
“Evidently. But to be fair, I had brought Guibert along to record the experiment with his camera. It was his first time working inside with the flash and he overloaded the pan a bit with magnesium powder.
Here’s Henri’s friend, Maurice Guilbert, on his bicycle. Maurice took most of the photos I’ve featured here on the blog.
Because he seldom appeared on the butte during the day, many of the boys of Montmartre had actually never seen the “little gentleman.”
“I don’t see why we couldn’t ask Van Gogh to come to the studio,” said Lucien, trying to cantilever his end of the painting into the wind.
“I like big butts,” Renoir explained to Toulouse-Lautrec.
“Anyway, I wanted to paint a party, all the life that happened on a Sunday at the Moulin de la Galette—dancing, drinking, gaiety. It was going to take a big canvas.
“You remember that white dress with the blue bows Margot wore?” Renoir asked, the gleam in his eye now going misty.”
“I was very fond of Margot,” said Renoir. “She fell ill with a fever and I had no money for a doctor.
Theo van Gogh’s gallery stood in the shadow of the basilica of Sacré-Coeur, the white, Moorish–meets–Taj Mahal fairy-tale church built on Montmartre by the state to atone for the army massacring the Communards (the leaders of whom came from Montmartre) after the Franco-Prussian War.
The younger Van Gogh looked thinner than when Lucien had last seen him, alert to the point of being almost jumpy but not healthy.