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About This Artwork
The Café, 1882/84
Oil on canvas
79.7 x 104.8 cm (31 3/8 x 41 1/4 in.)
Signed, lower left: "Lungren"
Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection, 1947.85
In 1882 Fernand Lungren traveled to Paris, attending classes at the Académie Julian for a short while before abandoning formal training in favor of direct observation of the city and its inhabitants. Lungren’s prior work as an illustrator in New York aided his painterly pursuits, as he constructed detailed scenes of urban life such as in The Café. Dressed in brilliant orange-red, a woman in profile holds a glass of liqueur and watches passersby. A man at left reads a newspaper, further signaling the leisurely nature of café patrons. Although Lungren employed a dense, hard-edged style, his interest in modern life and the effects of light (here electric lighting) was nevertheless indebted to French Impressionism.
— Permanent collection label
Durand Art Institute, Lake Forest College, A Century of American Painting: Masterpieces Loaned by The Art Institute of Chicago, June 10-16, 1957, cat. 7, as Sarah Bernhardt at the Cafe de la Paix.