Open Courtauld Hour

Open Courtauld Hour: Can-Can!

Welcome to the Moulin Rouge! This Open Courtauld Hour invites you to enter a world of splendour, misery and excess! In this hour the electrifying entertainment of the can-can and cabaret of the Courtauld Collection takes centre stage.

A spectacular feat, this hour takes inspiration from the night-time entertainment in Belle Époque Paris. These spaces allowed bohemians and aristocrats (both men and women) to rub elbows, revel in exuberant shows and proliferated revolutionary thought.

Jane Avril, seen in collection, was one of the stars of the Moulin Rouge. Known for her alluring style and exotic persona, her fame was assured by a series of dazzlingly inventive posters designed by the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Jane Avril became an emblematic figure in Lautrec’s world of dancers, cabaret singers, musicians and prostitutes. She was also a close friend of the artist and he painted a series of striking portraits of her, one of which is housed in our collection. This hour will kick off by interrogating this creative partnership and the spaces it was indebted to.

Bringing together experts, creatives and figures from across the Courtauld community this hour will capture the excitement and spectacle of bohemian Paris in the 1890s.

Join Leyla Bumbra (Research Forum Programme Manager, The Courtauld), Rachel Sloan (Assistant Curator of Works on Paper, The Courtauld) and Richard Thomson (Professor in History of Art, University of Edinburgh) and Hannah Williams (Choreographer and Independent Dance Researcher).

This online mini series will provide concise one hour packages of pop-up talks, performances and in detail object study sessions that explore and celebrate our collection, research in art history, curation and conservation.

The series will touch on pertinent issues — magnifying contemporary thinking in society through the field of art history. These episodes will explore how the public, artists and galleries are adapting to a digital world, showcasing art historical research in light of this global pandemic and providing a platform for creative practice in the age of social distancing.

Most importantly, as art is relevant to all, these informal sessions will give attendees the chance to access, engage and read art and art history through a different lens— revamping and rethinking art historical discussions through retelling hidden stories. These episodes will platform new perspectives, new ways into art practice, looking at art and reading its history through themes that impact us all.

25 Nov - 7 Jun 2023

8pm - 9pm GMT

Free, booking essential


Booking closes 30 minutes before the event start time.  
If you do not receive the log in details on the day of the event, please email 



Open Courtauld Hour - Episode 3, S6: Can Can!

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