Is this not a picture perfect site for the Musee de Montmartre, sited at the crest of the hill and surrounded by gardens that were designed from the master garden painter Renoir? The gardens are terraced down the hill and even include a grape vineyard which hugs the hill overlooking the city of lights below.
Visiting this small museum gives you a feel for what it was like for the artists who lived there during the Belle Epoque from 1872 to 1914 at the height of this time of art in Montmartre. Here are a few of the quite well known artists who lived, painted and were inspired in Montmartre. Many of them stayed and painted in the rooms we walked through in the Musee, Salvadore Dali, Claude Monet, Henri de ToulouseLatrec, Pablo Picasso Renoir and Suzanne Valadon.
Suzanne was born into a lower middle class family with a talent for art that showed up in her sketches as a young girl. She had a wild and free spirit wanted to be in the circus. This dream ended in a serious injury. She had her art to turn to. This was not a time for woman in art and though Mary Cassat was well known and from an affluent family, Suzanne was poor. Her entry into the art world was by being a model for many of the famous artists, many of whom she became their mistress as well. She would observe, ask questions and learn by osmosis, all she could about her and their art. Slowing she became doing her own art. She litterally pulled herself up by here bootstraps~
Erik Satie, the composer, was one of many of her lovers.
We wandered through the buildings and gardens seeing architecture , film, and art. . . a little this or that which held our attention because of the variety and incredible history of the site. Approaching a closed door, we decided to try to enter. As the squeaky door swung open we were faced with a room filled with light from the skylight. The furniture and artists supplies were left just as if the artist had stepped out and would be right back. Much to our delight , we discovered that the artist who used this studio just as it was left was none other than Suzanne Valadon!
Her studio was the often used meeting place with many artists.