Red conté crayon
Inscribed in red crayon, lower center: “The Dome Café
Estate stamp, lower left
Provenance: Estate of the artist
Sheet size: 8 X 10 ½ inches
Frame size: 17 ¼ X 19 ¼ inches
and Watercolors by Moses Soyer: From Social Realism to Romantic Realism,
Ridderhof Martin Gallery, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg,
Virginia, January-March, 2002.
This drawing was made during a trip by the artist and his
family to Paris
in the summer of 1959. Café du Dôme, 108 Boulevard Montparnasse,
opened in 1898, the first of the cafés on the boulevard that were frequented by
artists and which became the centers of their social lives. It was a café that
Moses frequented during his first stay in Paris
on a fellowship in the late 1920s.
Paris: Artists & Lovers, 1900-1930 (Billy Culver and Julie Martin,
Abrams, New York, 1989) contains many references to and photographs and
drawings of the Café du Dôme: Typically
(in the 1920s), the artists worked in the mornings, went to the Dôme for drinks
and lunch, and then back to work…Mornings the terrasse of the Dôme was filled
with boys and girls with furry mouths and not very clean ideas who counted on a
café-crème to put them in shape again.
In Hemingway’s A
Moveable Feast the Dôme is characterized as being less a gathering place
for the idle and decadent than the neighboring Café de la Rotonde: The Dôme was crowded too, but there were
people there who had worked. There were models who had worked and there were
painters who had worked until the light was gone and there were writers who had
finished a day’s work for better or worse, and there were drinkers and
characters, some of whom I knew and some that were only decorations.
One of the artists whose name is often mentioned in
connection with the Café du Dôme is Moses Soyer’s friend, Jules Pascin.
According to his son, David, “Moses often spoke of the ‘Dôme’ when he reminisced about his early stay
(1926-28), and it must have been an intensely emotional experience to revisit
it much later in his life and career.”