The Cafe Guerbois (pronounced gur-BWA), located at 11 Grande Rue des Batignolles in Montmartre in Paris, played an important role in the formation of modern art.
Until the end of the nineteenth century, the Paris academy (“Ecole des Beaux Arts”) controlled all aspects of the art world. In the mid-1860s, a group of artists, later known as the Impressionists, broke from the academy and rejected their strict stylistic standards. Needing a replacement for the academy studios for artistic discussion, they turned to the emerging cafe culture in Paris and to the Cafe Guerbois in particular. The group of artists included Manet, Renoir, Degas, Duranty, Bazille, Monet, Cezanne, Sisley, and Pissaro. Meeting on Sunday nights and Thursday evenings, their discussions sometimes became quite heated, but through these discussions the early ideas of modern art grew stronger and more focused.
Describing the discussions at the Cafe Guerbois, Monet later wrote, “Nothing could be more interesting than these causeries with their perpetual clash of opinions. They kept our wits sharpened, they encouraged us with stores of enthusiasm that for weeks and weeks kept us up until the final shaping of the idea was accomplished. From them we emerged tempered more highly, with firmer will, with our thoughts clearer and more distinct.”
Therefore, the name Guerbois sets an example for us as photographers. Let us use this website the same way the Impressionists used the Cafe Guerbois. The name sets a high standard. May we rise to meet it.