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During Intermission, or "The Opera Box, from "The Artist"

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During Intermission, or "The Opera Box, from "The Artist"

Pendant l'entracte, or La Loge de l'Opéra, de "L'Artiste"

Artist: Alexandre Lunois (1863 - 1916) Primary
Date: 1894
19th century
Dimensions: 5.87 x 8.46 in. (14.9 x 21.5 cm)
Dimensions Extent: image
Object Type: Print
Creation Place: Europe, France
Medium and Support: Color lithograph on paper
Credit Line: Gift of James Reed, 2017
Accession Number: 2017.35.226
Not on view.


The fashionably-dressed people in this opera box are taking advantage of a break in the performance to socialize with friends, as the woman at the left lifts a pair of opera glasses to observe other members of the audience. In a theme common among late-19th-century artists, Lunois turns his attention to the spectators themselves, rather than to the entertainment that they have ostensibly come to see.

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In the late 19th-century, Paris had a bustling theater and opera industry. In this lithograph by Alexandre Lunois, published in the leading periodical on art and literature commentary, l’Artiste, three upper-class operagoers mingle during intermission at a local theater. Despite being an intermission, the woman on the left peers off the balcony through her binoculars. Instead of watching the stage, she is actually observing other members of the audience, a common theme explored by opera and cabaret artists of the period. Likewise, Lunois, in creating this work, also decided to depict these members of the audience instead of the show itself, suggesting he was more interested in how people interact with one another candidly, instead of how they act on stage.

Tyler Heffern ‘22 



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