Situated on Place Emile Goudeau, on the edge of Place de Tetre, Bateau-Lavoir was once home to many of Montmartre’s illustrious artists. A residence and meeting place for some of the era’s most prominent creatives, it was also the birthplace of Cubism.

A former “guinguette“, the building was converted into house in 1860 and later divided into space for artists in 1899. Originally named after its owner, as the Maison du Trappeur, the building would soon earn a new name. In 1892, Maxime Maufra became the first artist to take up residence in the building. He would soon be followed by Italian poet Ardengo Soffici and Spanish sculptor Paco Durrio.

During the first decade of its operation the building hosted a who’s who of artists, including: Juan Gris, Kees Van Dongen, Constantin Brancusi, Amedeo Modigliani, Pierre Mac Orlan and Max Jacob. It was Jacob who coined the name Bateau-Lavoir (washboat); comparing the dark and dingy building to a washing-boat on the Seine, as it would sway and creak in bad weather.

The Birthplace of Modern Art

In 1904, Pablo Picasso would move into the Bateau-Lavoir, and later begin his famed Rose Period in the building. It was here in 1905, that Picasso painted Boy with a Pipe, which would later sell for $104 million. Later, in 1907, Picasso painted one of his most noted works, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. The painting, a Proto-cubist masterpiece, was consequently considered a seminal work in the development of cubism and modern art.

Following the outbreak of the First World War, many artists subsequently relocated to the south of Paris, to the Montparnasse neighbourhood. This ended the Bateau-Lavoir’s reputation as the foremost centre of art in Paris.

In 1970, the building was largely destroyed in a fire, leaving on the face in tact. It was completely rebuilt in 1978 and today serves as a studio space for young artists to work out of. While it is not open to the public, Bateau-Lavoir still sits proudly in the picturesque Place Emile Goudeau.

The occupants of the Bateau-Lavoir in its heyday were a mix of nationalities and disciplines. The most notable ones included:

  • Henri Matisse 
  • Georges Braque
  • Fernand Léger
  • André Derain
  • Pierre Dumont
  • Pierre Hodé
  • Raoul Dufy
  • Maurice Utrillo
  • François Guiguet
  • Jean Metzinger
  • Louis Marcoussis
  • Guillaume Apollinaire
  • Edmond-Marie Poullain
  • Alfred Jarry, Jean Cocteau
  • Raymond Radiguet
  • Gertrude Stein
  • Charles Dullin
  • Harry Baur
  • Ambroise Vollard
  • Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler
  • Berthe Weill
  • Nina Negri
  • Jacques-Gaston-Emile Vaillant
  • Robert Tatin
  • Maurice Denis
  • Endre Rozsda
  • Virginia Tentindo
  • Ksenia Milicevic,
  • Igor Mitoraj
  • Marie Laurencin
  • Gen Paul
  • Otto Freundlich
  • Georges Guyot
  • Pierre Fichet
  • Otto van Rees

For our guests, Bateau-Lavoir is a quick 5 minute walk from the hostel. If you’re not staying with us, book now and discover Montmartre on your doorstep!