If you happen to be passing through the historic Rue des Martyrs in Montmartre, you might have noticed the small cul-de-sac, Rue André-Gill. Situated a few metres from the bottom of Boulevard de Clichy, the street pays homage to one of Montmartre’s most renowned residents.
Born in Paris in 1840, Louis-Alexandre Gosset de Guînes began his career as a satirical artist at 19. He soon adopted the name André Gill, in honour of his hero James Gilary. Andre became notorious for his work in La Lune and his portrait of Napoleon III even resulted in the paper being censored in 1867.
Gil’s notable style focused on drawing enlarged heads, upon the small bodies of his subjects. His caricatures of famous politicians and artists, such as Bismarck, Dickens and Zola, won him entry into Paris’ bohemian community. Regularly censored by the government, Gill also illustrated for socialist paper La Rue during the Paris Commune.
After the fall of the Commune, Gill abandoned caricatures, to avoid persecution and turned to impressionism. Like many of his contemporaries during the Belle Epoque, Gill spent much of his social time in Montmartre. He was a regular singer at the infamous Cabaret des Assassins and even lent his name to its current incarnation.
In 1879 the owner of he cabaret asked Gill, a regular in the establishment, to paint a sign for his bar. Gill’s portrait of a rabbit jumping out of a saucepan quickly became synonymous with the cabaret. Known as « Gill’s Rabbit » (Le Lapin à Gill in French), it evolved to the Lapin Agile over time. Today, the cabaret remains as one of the most famous remnants of Montmartre’s bohemian past. The sign Gill painted can also still be seen outside the still functioning cabaret.
Andre Gill would pass away in 1885 after a long bout of mental illness and was laid to rest in Père Lachaise Cemetery. Today, his likeness is on display ont he street that bears his name, in the form of a sculpture. A hotel on the street also bears the artist’s name.
Rue André-Gill is a mere two minute walk from our property. The famous cabaret that displays his most famous work is only a few minutes further. Book with us now and discover Montmartre on your doorstep!