September Morn  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Matinee de Septembre (or September Morn) was painted by the French artist Paul Émile Chabas (1869-1937) over three summers, ending in 1912, and won a medal in a Paris art show that year but did not create any sensation.

The next year, when it was in a window of an art gallery in Chicago, Illinois (USA) it came to the attention of the mayor of the city, who charged the owner of the gallery with indecency. The resulting court case, which the art dealer won, made the painting famous.

Two months after the conclusion of the Chicago trial, Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), a self-appointed crusader against "vice", threatened a New York City art dealer who was displaying the painting in his window. However, Comstock never followed up this threat with legal action.

The public relations pioneer Harry Reichenbach claimed to have brought it to Comstock's attention as a contract job for the targeted gallery. However, Reichenbach's claim has been questioned.

Lithograph copies of the artwork were popularly sold for over a decade, extending the success that followed the scandal.

Ultimately, the painting would be labelled as kitsch by critics who thought it lacking in interesting artistic features: contrast, coordinated lines, and a worthy subject. It has never lacked admirers, however, and copies of the image are still sold on postcards and reproductive prints.

The original painting is on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "September Morn" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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