MU museum to show classic ‘Moulin Rouge’

Thursday, July 19, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:00 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Columbia film fanatics and art enthusiasts will get a slice of old Paris, short of a baguette and Brie. The 1952 classic “Moulin Rouge” will be shown at MU’s Museum of Art and Archaeology in an effort to promote its yearlong art exhibit “Daumier’s Paris: Life in the 19th Century City.”

The film, starring Jose Ferrer, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Louise Weber, and directed by John Huston, provides a sense of the environment in which Honoré Daumier worked.

If you go

What: A showing of 1952’s “Moulin Rouge” When: 7 tonight Where: Museum of Art and Archaeology, Pickard Hall on MU’s Francis Quadrangle Admission: Free

“We wanted a film that depicted the time period of 19th-century Paris,” said Bruce Cox, the museum’s assistant director.

The film is about famed artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and takes place at the turn of the 20th century, when Bohemian culture flourished. Although Toulouse-Lautrec was born into wealth, he later rejected that lifestyle for the Bohemian one he loved so much. Making his home in the red-light district of Paris, he frequented many dance halls, circuses, cabarets and brothels, and it was his posters and paintings from the Moulin Rouge that made him famous.

Toulouse-Lautrec was taunted for his height — 4½ feet — and retreated to his art, alcohol and clubs. At night, he sketched the people drinking around him and the next day transferred them into colorful paintings.

Daumier was most well known for his political cartoons and caricatures of the bourgeois class in Paris. The exhibit is made up of those, but he was also a painter and sculptor.

Cox said Daumier and Toulouse-Lautrec critiqued the world in which they lived but at opposite ends of the economic classes. “Both of them,” Cox said, “were trying to illustrate the Paris of the day.”

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