Members-Only Book Club: Dawn of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Monet, Zola, Bernhardt, Eiffel, Debussy, Clemenceau, and Their Friends by Mary McAuliffe
Join fellow Alliance members in the Main Gallery to explore literature – both fiction and non-fiction – revolving around art, artists, art history, and art appreciation.
Participate in thoughtful group discussions and expand your appreciation and knowledge of the world of art!
A humiliating military defeat by Bismarck’s Germany, a brutal siege, and a bloody uprising—Paris in 1871 was a shambles, and the question loomed, “Could this extraordinary city even survive?”
With the addition of an evocative new preface, Mary McAuliffe takes the reader back to these perilous years following the abrupt collapse of the Second Empire and France’s uncertain venture into the Third Republic. By 1900, Paris had recovered and the Belle Epoque was in full flower, but the decades between were difficult, marked by struggles between republicans and monarchists, the Republic and the Church, and an ongoing economic malaise, darkened by a rising tide of virulent anti-Semitism.
Yet these same years also witnessed an extraordinary blossoming in art, literature, poetry, and music, with the Parisian cultural scene dramatically upended by revolutionaries such as Monet, Zola, Rodin, and Debussy, even while Gustave Eiffel was challenging architectural tradition with his iconic tower.
Through the eyes of these pioneers and others, including Sarah Bernhardt, Georges Clemenceau, Marie Curie, and César Ritz, we witness their struggles with the forces of tradition during the final years of a century hurtling towards its close. Through rich illustrations and vivid narrative, McAuliffe brings this vibrant and seminal era to life.
The Member Gallery Book Club meets from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month. Club members must purchase their own copy of each book, but an active Alliance membership is all that’s required. To become a member, click here.