Title: Folies Bergere Poster Art, 1897
created on 25 Aug 22

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Comments on this picture (43):
1. chelydra wrote:
 As a 16-year-old Parisian street vendor (flowers, cigarettes, whatever she could steal that day), Mme Luxe Quarelle caught the eye of an associate of Napoleon III,
2. chelydra wrote:
 who commanded his carriage driver to halt and invite her inside. Three days later she was the brilliantly gowned and bejeweled guest of the Emperor at the Opera Comique
3. chelydra wrote:
 All Paris—all the important people, that is— gazed and murmured, shocked and riveted by her astonishing beauty and natural grace.
4. chelydra wrote:
 He smile was so luminous, it was said she could light a man's cigar from across a crowded ballroom if she focused on him in her casually friendly way.
5. chelydra wrote:
 After the happened (or was rumored to have happened) several times, she was given the name Luxe, the feminine form of Light.
6. chelydra wrote:
 After THAT happened (typo correction)
7. chelydra wrote:
 But she still had the spirit of a female alley cat, the kind Manet made famous in his lithographic print and in the shadows of his notorious Olympia of 1873.
8. chelydra wrote:
 Kitty Jackson has this to say (2019) of Manet's immortal beast: "[She's] a mysterious cat, who stands upright and stares back provocatively at the viewer, summoning images of witches cats, of darkness and black magic.
9. chelydra wrote:
 The cat is somehow uncomfortable to look at and looks mischievous, powerful and shrouded in darkness. ... this cat speaks of mystical feminine energy."
10. chelydra wrote:
 And as Napoleon III soon learned, his little Luxe could and would fight like an alleycat to get her way. From quarrelsome nature is derive her adopted surname.
11. chelydra wrote:
 From HER q.n. (correction) and deriveD
12. chelydra wrote:
 Did she even have a name before she was brought into the royal household? Researchers have to agree on one. There were many street kids whose aliases were so numerous and varied that even they couldn't remember if they;d ever had a real name.
13. chelydra wrote:
 Researchers have YET to agree (sorry about that). And they;d should be they'd, of course.
14. chelydra wrote:
 The honeymoon was soon over, as Kaiser Wilhelm I and Count von Bismark had decided it was time for Prussia to put this uppity little Napoleonic wannabe in his place.
15. chelydra wrote:
 They barely been together for six months before the Franco-Prussian debacle put an end to Napoleon III's so-called Second Empire.
16. chelydra wrote:
 They should be They'd. Sorry.
17. chelydra wrote:
 And way back up in Box #4, He should have been Her. Sigh.
18. chelydra wrote:
 As the poor were eating rats, while the rich dined on zoo elephants, N3 and LQ skulked off into the darkest night imaginable, and skulked in different directions.
19. chelydra wrote:
 N3's devastating bellyache (like his famous uncle's bellyache at Waterloo) before during and after the terrible battle of Sedan is said to have hastened France's defeat.
20. chelydra wrote:
 Perhaps there never really was a honeymoon period. N3's many ailments meant he wasn't much fun to be around. Chronic nocturnal gas attacks made him a nightmare to cuddle with.
21. chelydra wrote:
 There's some doubtful evidence that Luxe next appears among the cannoniers of the Commune's Seine Fleet, whose leader Hortense David may have been her elder stepsister.
22. chelydra wrote:
 A more likely connection is Louise Michel, who ran a school serving Parisian street kids in the late 1860s. She was a friend of Victor Hugo and a poet; her influence would have helped Luxe make a favorable impression on the Emperor's circle.
23. chelydra wrote:
 (see louisemichel.com) It makes sense that Luxe might be one of the estimated 8,000 (!) female arsonists burning Paris in 1871.
24. chelydra wrote:
 But if she was, she had the street smarts to keep quiet about it. After the Commune fell, the authorities launched a terror campaign of their own, executing thousands without real trials or evidence.
25. chelydra wrote:
 After things settled down, Luxe found it hard to become a high-class courtesan again. She's been the Emperor's own pet; who else could impress her? And who'd want her now anyway after N3's career ended in a shambles?
26. chelydra wrote:
 The next several years are the subject of endless speculation. Some say she was near starvation as often as not. Others insist she lived a life of luxury, but very discretely, as a companion to aged generals who'd been in N3's inner circle.
27. chelydra wrote:
 Sometime during the 1880s, Luxe appeared in public again, this time as a dancer and comedienne as the Folies Bergere. Her beauty was fading fast, and her haystack of hair was dyed an outrageous punk-like bright red.
28. chelydra wrote:
 I meant to mention that at least one biographer insists that Luxe inspired Degas famous Absinthe Drinker during a rock-bottom period in 1876.
29. chelydra wrote:
 She was proud and quarrelsome enough to refuse to pose (a well-known actress 'did the honors'), but her affinity for absinthe was certainly a central fact of her life after 1870.
30. chelydra wrote:
 There are claims that Luxe was in fact the prostitute who went by the name of Suzon and posed as Manet's "Barmaid at the Folies Bergere." She would have been about 30 in 1882, and still very attractive.
31. chelydra wrote:
 But as time went on, Luxe/Suzon was more and more a major presence on the Folies stage. As her looks deteriorated due to her depravity and bad habits, her acting, joking and dancing became wilder and wilder.
32. chelydra wrote:
 But it was already such a wild place — nude dancers were a dime a dozen at the Folies Bergere (so says Wikipedia so it must be true!), that LQ had to keep upping the ante. Python dances, dirty jokes about the Pope, you name it, she did it.
33. chelydra wrote:
 In 1897, most agree, LQ threatened the FB management with arson (heavily hinting she'd become an expert during the 1871 conflagrations) unless she was featured—alone—on the FB's next lithographed color poster.
34. chelydra wrote:
 By that time, a kid from Illinois of all places had become the most celebrated of all the Bergerian girls (until Josephine Baker arrived from Harlem in the 1920s).
35. chelydra wrote:
 LQ's partisans bitterly accuse Loie Fuller of plagiarizing LQ's Python Dance, picking her brains for incendiary chemical recipes for stage lighting, and so forth and so on.
36. chelydra wrote:
 It's not known if the poster LQ demanded was ever commissioned, let alone printed and plastered on the walls of Paris. No copies have surfaced.
37. chelydra wrote:
 Therefore this picture is what used to be called an "artist's conception:. As for Luxe Quarelle, there is no solid information of any kind indicating she was even alive after 1897.
38. chelydra wrote:
 Reports of a close friendship with the exiled Krupskaya Lenin and Luxe's alleged ghostwriting of "State and Revolution" (attributed to KL's notorious husband) are apocryphal.
39. chelydra wrote:
 The view is from the front row, eyes level with the star's feet. That perspective distorts her body shape quite a lot.
40. bugoy1 wrote:
 One of my all time favorite is the Jules Cheret poster. This is fantastic!
41. indigo wrote:
 ohhh la la! ;)
42. the_dude wrote:
43. chelydra wrote:
 The drawing was inspired by a pastel by Joe Loccisano, one of the best artists around.

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