On the Place Pigalle was held the famous “Marché au modèles” (models market) that allowed the Montmartre artists to find real treasures!
Artist Cités have always played a major role in the history of art: they began to appear in Montmartre between the 19th and 20th centuries.
The most famous of all is known as Bateau-Lavoir. It was named this way because of its wooden structure and its only water access. The building opens on the Place Emile Goudeau and three flats lower to the Rue Garreau. The refuge was barely heated and there were improvised workshops in what used to be a piano factory. The Bateau-Lavoir truly was a cradle for modern art in the beginning of the 20th century and was soon renamed by Max Jacob “the central laboratory for painting”.
The artists that worked in those workshops were often foreigners, twentyish and penniless. Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Mac Orlan, Modigliani, Van Dongen, Juan Gris and last but not least Picasso – that revolutionized painting there with its 1907 painting “Les demoiselles d’Avignon”.
It was destroyed in a fire in 1970 and was rebuilt with concrete in 1978 and arranged in 25 workshops occupied by artists who worked during the day without sleeping there. You cannot visit the workshops but the the glass walls can be seen from the Burq Square.
Another artists cité that had an important role in Montmartre was the Cité des Fusains, at the number 22 of the rue Tourlaque. The construction of this city was done in two times: first from 1900 to 1910 in an quite anarchic way, with artists like Derain and Bonnard occupying workshops with an entrance in the rue Steinlen. Then from the 20s on, the Cité des Fusains enlarged to the rue Tourlaque. During this second period, surrealist artists such as Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Eluard and Miro set in.
In the beginning of the 20th century, exchanges between the Cité des Fusains and the Bateau Lavoir were frequent. Protected since 1963, the Cité des Fusains still hosts 5 to 6 artists.
In the “Maisons de Rosimond” – which dates back to the 17th century – was the last Cité, 12 rue Cortot. Artists that took an essential part in the history of painting in the end of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century lived there. Pierre Auguste Renoir there painted some of his famous paintings as the “Bal du Moulin de la Galette” till Suzanne Valadon and her son Maurice Utrillo, but also Emile Bernard, Maximilien Luce, Raoul Dufy, Francisque Poulbot as well as a great many others.