Café Scene in Paris, 1877

  • Henri Gervex, French, 1852-1929

Oil on canvas

  • Unframed: 39 5/8 × 53 1/2 inches (100.6 × 135.9 cm)
  • 48 × 64 3/4 × 4 1/8 inches (121.9 × 164.5 × 10.5 cm)

Founders Society Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund


On View

  • Modern C235


European Painting

  • Interior
  • Oil
  • Canvas
  • Figures (representations)
  • Café
  • Painting (visual work)
  • Paris
  • Smoking (activity)
  • Drinking

Cafes provided an important meeting place for artists, writers, and intellectuals in the nineteenth-century city. News, gossip, and ideas were shared as drinks were poured and pipes, cigars, and cigarettes were smoked. Here the artist painted a group portrait of some of his friends in their neighborhood cafe; he represents himself as the man in the center lighting his pipe.

Signed and dated, lower left: H. Gervex | 1877

private collection (France); sold by (J. Pierre Selz, Paris, France, and Lynven, Inc., New York, New York, USA); 1992-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Gourvennec, Jean-Cristophe. Henri Gervex 1852–1929. Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux Arts, Musée Carnavalet, and Musée des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, Paris, and Nice, 1992, pp. 100–113 (ill.) cat. no. 6. Verchère, Paule. “D’Une Exposition A L’Autre: Henri Gervex (1852–1929).” Elle Decoration, no. 31 (June, July and August 1992): 206, p. 206 (ill.). Doy, Guinevere. "Exhibition Review: Paris and Nice, Henri Gervex." Burlington Magazine 135, no. 1084 (July 1993): 497–498, p. 498, fig. 48 (ill.). Treasures from the Detroit Institute of Arts: Masters of Impressionism and Modern Art. Exh. cat., Sogo Museum of Art, Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukui Fine Arts Museum, and Yawatahama Citizen Gallery. Yokohama, Kitakyushu, Fukushima, Fukui, and Yawatahama, 2001, pp. 60–61, no. 9 (ill.). Impressionist Interiors. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Ireland. Dublin, 2008, no. 1, pp. 54–55 (ill.). Murphy, Paula. "Exhibition Review: Impressionist Interiors, Dublin." Burlington Magazine 150, no. 1265 (August 2008): 563–564, p. 564, fig. 49 (ill.).

Henri Gervex, Café Scene in Paris, 1877, oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund, 1992.8.