"The Moulin de la Galette had originally served as a windmill along with
several others. Around 1830 the millers had transformed it into a dance hall.
As they continued to bake excellent little cakes known as galettes, a name was
found for the new hall. Here there was no spectacle. It was an unpretentious meeting
place for those of unsophisticated tastes, where the atmosphere closely resembled
that of a happy village square. This was a simple dance hall, attended by, for
the most part lower-middle-class workers, artisans, clerks, dressmakers, and young
girls chaperoned by their mothers. It had as well 'mecs' (pimps) who might be
seated at nearby tables with prostitutes masquerading as 'daronnes' (respectable
local woman), there was nothing to distinguish them from the other clients at
the Moulin de la Galette" (Dortu p.77,
In this wonderful scene of the working class at play that Steinlen
brings to life, an odd looking little man asks a seated red haired beauty, "Would
you care to dance with me miss?" To which she replies, "No, thank you
To this he proudly proclaims, "You are making a big mistake
miss." Her girlfriend looks over laughing, as the dance flows around them.
The brilliant use of line and colour are distinctively Steinlen.