Exposition : Maisons Closes 1860-1946
  • 12
  • Jan
  • 2010

As read at the site of Vingt :

In an intimate art gallery Au Bonheur du Jour, directly opposite the site of mythic brothel Le Chabanais presents in explicit detail the history of maisons closes in Paris from 1860 to 1946.

The display of carefully chosen vintage photographs, drawings, documents, paintings and objects of desire is divided into seventeen sections: Places, Women, Scenes with women, Spanking and flagellation, Libertine lingerie , Brothels for men, Guides and adverts, Tokens, Props, Painters and illustrators, Postcards, Songs, Illustrated magazines, Literature, Movies, the Saint-Lazare jail and finally the Closing of brothels.

Although brothels existed unofficially in Paris since the 13th century, it was only when Napoleon ordered their registration and a bi-weekly health inspection of all prostitutes that they started to be legally designated as the maisons closes. Among the most exquisite brothels, which flourished throughout the 19th century, were Le Chabanais, Le One Two Two, Le Sphinx, la Fleur Blanche, L’Etoile de Kléber . Each one of them had a clientele with specific erotic demand, from flagellation to libertine lingerie. When in 1946 when Marthe Richard, a town councilor and a former street prostitute, outlawed the maisons closes, approximately 1400 registered brothels were closed.

To get a glimpse of this sensual universe visit the gallery Au Bonheur du Jour until January 31, 2010.

Au Bonheur du Jour,11 rue Chabanais – 75002 Paris, M° Quatre-Septembre
Tuesday to Saturday, – 2.30pm – 7.30pm


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