Ball at the Moulin Rouge
Jacques Villon (Gaston Duchamp), French, 1875 - 1963
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Villon made three versions of this composition. The initial print depicted a vast interior space filled with dancers, an orchestra, and a lone soldier looking down from a balcony. Villon made the print shown here by cutting off part of the plate, removing the upper part of the dance hall and bringing the orchestra and dancers into closer range. He then cut the plate again and intentionally eliminated the visual logic of the space, suspending the dancers in an ambiguous area framed by the balcony and the orchestra box. Villon's removal of traditional perspective from the composition with the second reduction of the plate suggests his budding interest in Cubist spatial construction, in which the figures can be seen from multiple points of view. His method of drawing the figures in simplified, angular planes also foreshadows the style he used in his Cubist prints.