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Picturing a World

Ambassadeurs in the Champs-Élysées

After the Renicks' dinner party, Edward escorts Jeanette and Effie home then joins the rest of his family at a café-chansant, Les Ambassadeurs. In Renoir's Champs-Élysées, it is the building on the right. It was surrounded by its own gardens where gaslights on single posts and on tiers among the trees were part of the magical atmosphere. Acts were performed on an elaborate outdoor stage with the additional trees of the park deepening the leafy background.

Although soft night shadows are important to Edward's walk, this daytime painting helped me understand just how much of a wooded park with lawns the Parisian "Elysian Fields" really was in the 19th century. Trees were cut down during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871, but by 1878 they had been replanted.
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