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RA Lates: A Summer's Night in Montmartre at the Royal Academy of Arts

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Time 20:00
Date 31/08/19
Price £35

Experience the bohemian decadence of 1890s Paris at the Royal Academy of Art's end-of-summer party.

Think underground café societies, cabarets, can-can dancing, absinthe dens and palatial salons at this end-of-summer party at the RA, inspired by their exhibition, Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet.

Montmartre in the 1890s – with its vibrant nightlife, costume balls, dance halls, café concerts, open air parties and street parades – was an artist’s paradise, attracting an eclectic and bohemian crowd of painters, poets, musicians and writers.

Félix Vallotton was introduced to Parisian nightlife by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the charismatic artist and one of the scene’s main celebrities. Toulouse-Lautrec made his name producing successful prints that depicted the ‘demi-monde’ or characters on the fringes of society, as well as his famous advertisements for the Moulin Rouge.

Throughout the 1890s, the print boom in Paris enabled the avant-garde to spread their ideas quickly and cheaply, while salonnieres presided over private, intellectual parties where relationships were forged and art was debated. The adoption of electricity in the new street lamps across the city gave Paris the nickname, ‘the city of lights’ – its streets and pavements glistened with creativity, excitement and vitality.

So, travel back in time to the bohemian suburb of Montmartre at this decadent RA Late. Celebrate Paris as a glorious place for pleasure, entertainment, artistic freedom and escape, during the gilded decade before the new century.

Le fête dans le jardin
Outdoor concerts, dancing and entertainment

The RA’s grand Courtyard will be transformed into a Parisian garden, complete with a bandstand, wine bars and moonlit dance floor.

Benoit Viellefon and his Orchestra will perform a lively set inspired by bal populaire and guinguettes, ranging from the can-can to early 1900s jazz, plus some upbeat Hungarian waltzes. Take part in the dances, sip champagne and enjoy French cuisine from a curated line-up of street food traders.


Geneviève Strauss Salon
Immersive experience by Wilson and Hart

The Jewish socialite, Geneviève Strauss, presided over one of the most famous and sought-after salons in Paris, attracting an intellectual clientele of politicians, artists and writers. Typically, an evening would include private theatrical performances and recitals, musical performances and debate. It also launched the career of many artists, including Marcel Proust.

Then, in the wake of the Dreyfus Scandal when Jewish military captain, Alfred Dreyfus, was falsely accused of espionage, Strauss’s living room morphed into the political headquarters of the pro-Dreyfus movement, challenging the antisemitic accusations held against the captain.

At this immersive experience produced by Wilson & Hart, we recreate the potent creativity, dynamic social networks and energetic debate of this bohemian, Parisian living room, which ultimately changed the face of politics.

Take part in artistic discussions, hear talks from academic thinkers and writers, and mingle with Strauss’s notable guests.


Le Café
Coffee, cocktails and film screenings

Sip coffee, indulge in cocktails, and enjoy a programme of French film screenings that depict Parisian life, in an evening inspired by La Belle Epoqué.


Moulin Rouge
Twisted circus life drawing with Art Macabre

This spectacular, infamous dancehall opened in 1899 and offered a range of entertainments from circus troupes and clowns, to acrobats and tightrope walkers. The circus was considered a form of artistic expression in 19th-century Paris, offering inspiration for painters of the time.

At this theatrical life drawing class, Art Macabre invite you to draw contemporary circus acts that take inspiration from the Moulin Rouge’s characters and performers, celebrating the physical spectacle and creativity of the circus.


Le Cabaret du Chat Noir
Burlesque acts and drag shows

Le Chat Noir was a raucous 19th-century cabaret in Paris’s bohemian Montmartre district. Here, class divides were blurred and subversive performances mocking bourgeois morality were de rigeur. At their pop-up cabaret, a full line-up of drag performers and burlesque acts will take you back to the rowdy days of Paris and Le Cabaret du Chat Noir.


Absinthe Den
Secret bar

Discover an underground absinthe den in the basement of the Royal Academy where you can sip cocktails and enter an immersive grotto to meet the ‘green fairy’.

COMPETITION: Win 1x pair of tickets to attend RA Lates: A Summer's Night in Montmartre at the Royal Academy of Arts at 19:00 on Saturday 31 August. To enter the competition, send an email to vienna@run-riot.com with the correct answer in the ‘subject’ line. The winner will be randomly selected.

Q: Ernest Hemingway once said: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." However, this question has nothiing to do with Ernest Hemingway. The question is... which  English writer, poet and philosopher stated: “London is a riddle. Paris is an explanation.”?
A: .1) G. K. Chesterton .2) Thomas Hardy .3) H G Wells .4) George Orwell