I sit at my door, smoking a cigarette and sipping my absinthe, and I enjoy every day without a care in the world.
- Paul Gaugin, 1897
Degas' famous "L'Absinthe" (1876) is the definitive depiction of the drink. It shows a man and woman sitting in a café - faces vacant, eyes glazed over. Under its original title, A Sketch Of A French Café, the painting was not well received. But when it was exhibited in the Grafton Gallery under its new title - L'Absinthe - the painting enjoyed huge controversy, igniting a diplomatic incident that soured Anglo-French relations.
Edgar Degas (born De Gas), 19 July 1834 - 27 September 1917, was a French painter and sculptor. He was one of the founders of "Impressionism", a term he didn't like at all himself and rather referred to it as "Realism".
Degas, although being a French artist born in Paris, he wasn't as much of a notorious drinker as many of his collegues of the time. Degas was very serious in his painting and even though he too could be seen in cafés with a drink at hand it was never the insane amounts as many others.
Instead the best known connection between Edgar Degas and absinthe is his magnificent painting from 1876, titled "L'Absinthe". The painting, depicting the interior of a Parisian café with a lady sitting by a table, a distant, sad look on her eyes and with a glass of absinthe in front of her - next to her a man who hardly seems present to anybody but the glass of Quinquina at his table, stirred up controversy when it was displayed at the Third Impressionist Exhibition in 1877. The two people in the painting were actually both friends of Degas'; the comedienne Ellen Andrée and painter Marcelin Desboutin.
Today, the painting can be seen on display at Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
Written by Markus Hartsmar
Many writers "of old" wrote poems or passages about absinthe. Some drank it, some didn't. Find some of them here as well as reviews and notes on modern books about absinthe.
The Absinthe Poetry section has seen several updates the past days. Poems and information about more authors; Antonin Artaud, Arthur Symons, Francis Saltus Saltus, Florence Folsom and Robert Loveman. Open your mind and have a drink while you enjoy their lyrics.
It's the new bistro, the new bar in town. A good place to meet when meeting in real life isn't always an option. Meet me on facebook for more updates from the absinthe world.