Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Studio Montmartre

Walking towards Point 10 Toulouse-Lautrec’s studio Rue Caulaincourt

A greyed out general map of the In the Footsteps of the Artists Tour of Montmartre featuring a clear area on the map showing point 10 toulouse Lautrec’s studio, point 11 the Cite des Fusains and point 12 Theo and Vincent van Gogh’s appartment Rue Lepic Paris 75018.
Highlighted area shows point 10 Toulouse-Lautrec’s studio, point 11 the Cité des Fusains and point 12 Theo and Vincent van Gogh’s appartment. © OpenStreetMap contributors, the Open Database Licence (ODbL).
personalised keys to the OpenStreetMap map of the walk In the Footsteps of the Artists around Montmartre.
Keys to sights and directions. © David Macmillan.

Now go back out of Rue Norvins and turn right to join join Rue Lepic. Keep to the right hand pavement as you drop down the hill. The route sweeps round right below the octagonal Commanderie building set in its garden; if you look closely enough you will see vines here too.

An OpenStreetMap detail of the signed route map showing the Commanderie du Clos Montmartre and the Folie Sandrin opposite. Both buildings are in Rue Norvins Paris 75018.
The route now sweeps right below the Commanderie du Clos Montmartre following Rue Lepic. © OpenStreetMap contributors, the Open Database Licence (ODbL).

The square area is called Place Jean-Baptiste Clément. We are now dropping down and still slowly turning right. You now join Rue Lepic as you exit the more open square area. Keep going and you will soon see the familiar profile of the Moulin de la Galette ahead (point 4). This time we will stay on Rue Lepic all the way. Go straight by and keep walking down the hill which is quite steep in places.

Site of the Moulin de la Galette park

About a quarter of the way down, to the right, there is an area of allotments or gardens crowned by the Blute-Fin windmill dating from the 18th century. A green arched sign announces the Moulin de la Galette. As we can see from the Renoir painting the Moulin de la Galette complex included a dance hall and a shady park area for promenading, dancing and meeting.

The Blute-Fin windmill stands on the top of Montmartre in some gardens. The windmill is set behind some trees and is framed through an arched green sign announcing the Moulin de la Galette. The view is from below in Rue Lepic 75018 Paris.
The Blute-Fin windmill on what used to be the park surrounding the Moulin de la Galette complex.

The garden and building arrangement was typical of many ‘bals’ or dance venues of this time. We can assume that the park area featured in Renoir’s painting was situated between the Blute-Fin mill you see now and where the present day Moulin de la Galette (point 4) restaurant is. There is no public access to the hill, this is all private land.

An OpenStreetMap detail of the signed route map showing the route down Rue Lepic with the Blute-Fin windmill to right. Rue Lepic Paris 75018.
The route down Rue Lepic with the Blute-Fin windmill on hilltop.© OpenStreetMap contributors, the Open Database Licence (ODbL).
The metallic information panel put up by the Mayor of Paris outside the site of the Blute-Fin windmill in Montmartre. The text is in French and is translated in the body of the page text.
The Mayor of Paris’ information panel (in French) about the Moulin de la Galette and the Blute-Fin windmill.

The information panel put up by the Mayor of Paris reads:

The Moulin de la Galette (The Pancake Mill)

The first part of the panel tells of the heroic exploits of the four Debray brothers whilst defending the ‘Blute-Fin’ mill (which you see above you now) during the siege of Paris by the Cossacks in 1814. Records show the Debray family have been associated with milling in Montmartre since at least 1621. It then gives details of the gruesome fate of the last surviving Debray brother at the hands of the Cossacks which I will spare you.

It continues:

‘During the Restoration (a period in French history when the monarchy returned from 1815 – 1848), the son (of the Debray brother killed by the Cossacks) redeveloped the building as a dancehall. The decoration was mainly garden trellis (lattice work) painted green.

There was a relaxed atmosphere and a more popular clientele than in other similar establishments which can be seen in Renoir’s 1876 painting ‘The Dance at the Moulin de la Galette’. Following various misadventures the ‘Blute-Fin’ was saved in 1979.’

For wheelchair users, please return to wheelchair route Place Dalida and point 7.

For wheelchair route users, please return to point 9 Bateau Lavoir.

An OpenStreetMap detail of the signed route map showing the route down Rue Lepic with the sharp right hand turn into Rue Tourlaque. Toulouse Lautrec’s studio marked as point 10 on the map is situated at 21 Rue Caulaincourt Paris 75018.
The route down Rue Lepic with the sharp right hand turn into Rue Tourlaque leading to point 10 Toulouse Lautrec’s studio. © OpenStreetMap contributors, the Open Database Licence (ODbL).

Point 10 Toulouse-Lautrec’s studio

Keep going down Rue Lepic, dropping all the time. Rue Lepic suddenly turns sharp left, continue until you come to the junction with Rue Tourlaque which is to the right on the right hand pavement going down.

A large bay window on the second floor of a building that forms the junction of Rue Tourlaque and Rue Caulaincourt Montmartre, This was Toulouse Lautrec's studio in the 1880s and 1890s
Toulouse-Lautrec’s Studio 21 Rue Caulaincourt Montmartre

Turn into Rue Tourlaque and again keep on the right hand pavement, it also descends. Follow it for about 50 metres to its junction with Rue Caulaincourt.

On the junction there is a café. Diagonally opposite the café on the other side of Rue Caulaincourt (number 21) you will see an imposing window on the second floor that forms the angle. This was Toulouse-Lautrec’s first studio in Montmartre.

Detail of a building 7 Rue Tourlaque Paris 75018 showing a large window which forms the junction with rue Tourlaque. Toulouse Lautrec had a studio here in 1880s and 1890s.
Toulouse-Lautrec’s studio in 1880s and 1890 from Rue Tourlaque.

Other accounts have his studio on the third floor. Toulouse-Lautrec, like Renoir, like Degas, like Picasso and like many other artists moved around the Montmartre area a lot. He was here in the late 1880s and again in the mid 1890s. Suzanne Valadon (see points 6 and 9) was his model and the two had an affair.

Toulouse-Lautrec paintings associated with this studio

For his second tenure he seems to have kept a studio here whilst actually living in rue Pierre Fontaine in the Pigalle/Lower Montmartre area. The works that we can associate with this studio would be for example: The portrait of Vincent van Gogh from 1887, in the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. La Blanchisseuse (The Laundress) in a private collection, both of which would probably have been painted here in his first tenure.

Gerstle Mack’s photograph of Toulouse-Lautrec entitled ‘Toulouse-Lautrec in his studio in Rue Caulaincourt‘ shows him working on At the Moulin Rouge, The Dance. The painting dates from 1890 and can be seen in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

From the second period (approximately 1894 – 97) date his realistic, clear eyed observations of the lives of prostitutes. For example Salon de la Rue des Moulins 1894-95 now in the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Albi, France, (the text of this site is only in French) or the Nude Standing Before a Mirror at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Toulouse-Lautrec captures the subdued atmosphere of the end of the evening, when the entertainment is over, in his wonderful At the Moulin Rouge now in The Art Institute of Chicago; it too was possibly also painted here. The lively Cartoons for La Goulue’s Fairground Hut painted in 1895 in the Orsay Museum in Paris also date from this period.

The following stop, point 11 the Cité des Fusains is optional. There is not much to see and involves a considerable drop. Even the artists who were used to walking about Montmartre probably would have complained about going down here. If your footsteps are still lively you can go, if not then you are excused for not following in the footsteps of the artists to this particular destination.

For wheelchair users, please return to point 1 on disabled route