Carefree life, Flickleness and Joie de Vivre... Those are the three words that could best sum up this unique period in the History of France. It was a rest between two wars, a period of transition between two centuries, during which the social barriers collapsed, when the industrial revolution gave hope of a better life for all, in a rich cultural profusion and that promised much fun.
The middle-class mixed with the riffraff, the popular culture was enchanced in a contented disorder full of joy and vitality. In that atmosphere, which favoured artistic creativity, literary circles appeared and disappeared according to people'meetings, while painters and drawers got especially inspired by this joyful sometimes outrageous but full of fancy atmosphere that broke completely with the rigid classicism of that period.
The Japonism *, a movement of Far-East inspiration using influences from the Japanese style in French Art, was at its height. Toulouse-Lautrec and his famous Japanese engravings was one of the most famous disciples of that time. The atmosphere fitted perfectly to the appearance of the first cabarets, such as the Moulin Rouge in 1889.
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