Le Bateau-Lavoir – Picasso's Old Studio, Paris

Le Bateau-Lavoir – Picasso's Old Studio, Paris

Le Bateau-Lavoir is the place in Montmartre which was once densely inhabited by artists and people of literature. Originally a piano factory, the building was later made into several art studios which played an incredible role in early 20th-century art history.

Max Jacob, French poet and painter in the early 20th century, called it Le Bateau (Washhouse Boat) for its resemblance to a laundry boat. Later, the small square in front of the building was named Place Émile Goudeau after the eponymous French novelist, poet and journalist.

Painter, Maxime Maufra, was the first tenant at Le Bateau in 1890. From 1904, it was predominantly occupied by emerging artists and writers, as well as actors and art dealers, most of whom were extremely poor and unappreciated.

It became an unofficial club that included artists Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Marie Laurencin, Modigliani, Jean-Paul Laurens, Maurice Utrillo, to name a few; and writers such as Guillaume Apollinaire, Alfred Jarry, Jean Cocteau, Gustave Coquiot, among others.

Picasso lived here from 1904 to 1912, and painted his world-famous “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon", "Young Girl with a Flower Basket", and "Garçon à la pipe (Boy with a Pipe)". Othon Friesz painted “The Reclining Nude” whilst staying at Le Bateau in 1905.

It was at this informal art club that Picasso voiced for the first time the concept of cubism. Daily discussions took place in the studios and spilled out into the neighboring cafes. Slowly, the old style of painting was abandoned and a new aesthetic doctrine started to emerge.

The First World War that broke out in 1914 forced many artists to leave Montmartre for a more comfortable, calmer residence. With the emergence of the artistic scene in Montparnasse after WWI and notably La Ruche, Le Bateau-Lavoir lost its beauty.

In 1970, the wooden structure caught a fire and only the façade survived the incident. Fortunately, the edifice was rebuilt eight years later. Today, the birthplace of Cubism is no longer open to the public, but its front window, filled with old photographs, vividly depicts the eventful history of the place. If you have a heart for art, you absolutely must not miss this place!

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Paris. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Le Bateau-Lavoir – Picasso's Old Studio on Map

Sight Name: Le Bateau-Lavoir – Picasso's Old Studio
Sight Location: Paris, France (See walking tours in Paris)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Paris, France

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Creating your own self-guided walk in Paris is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Souvenirs Shopping Walk

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Le Marais Walking Tour

Le Marais Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Latin Quarter Walking Tour

Latin Quarter Walking Tour

Paris’ Latin Quarter is situated on the left bank of the Seine and dates back to the Middle Ages. For years, it was known as a bohemian enclave, attracting students, writers and intellectuals. Centered on the Sorbonne University's main university campus, the area was so named a few centuries ago because the students were speaking and learning in Latin. It remains very lively, with a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
The French Revolution Landmarks Walking Tour

The French Revolution Landmarks Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.3 Km or 4.5 Miles
Montmartre Walking Tour

Montmartre Walking Tour

Originally named “Mons Martis”, meaning the “Mount of Mars”, Montmartre is one of the most famous and visited neighborhoods in Paris. Beyond the Sacré-Coeur, the Moulin Rouge and notable landmarks, the district is also about the atmosphere, the narrow streets, and the artsy culture that has made Paris famous. Once home to artists such as Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh, Montmartre continues...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Paris Introduction Walking Tour I

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The capital of France takes its name from the Celtic tribe of Parisii who, back in the Iron Age, around the 3rd century BC, settled near the river Seine. The Romans conquered the Parisii and established on their land a garrison town which, towards the end of the 5th century AD, fell to the Franks and flourished under their rule. Despite wars, revolutions and numerous social cataclysms, Paris had...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 Km or 3.2 Miles

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