Friedrich August Herkendell, La Danse Apache

Friedrich August Herkendell, La Danse Apache

This early 20th-century oil painting by German artist, Friedrich August Herkendell (1876-1940), depicts a lively evening at a Parisian bar. Several couples dance to the roaring sound of an energetic accordionist who plays from atop a stage. It’s La Danse Apache - a fiery waltz with controversial roots.

This wild theatrical dance was a dramatic affair as it referenced the brutality of Parisian street culture. Participants often threw mock punches and were occasionally thrown to the ground - women or men.

When Herkendell created this in 1911, he was working in Paris and surely astonished at the scene unfolding. He possibly witnessed it at the Moulin de la Galette - a popular haunt for artists. Many have tried to capture its lusty atmosphere - including Renoir in 1876 and Picasso in 1900.

In 1911, Paris was abundant with hedonism and consumed by the dark realities of its nocturnal transgressions. Citizens were uninhibited, free to indulge their desires amid a society that courted controversy. Herkendell describes this dizzying mix of glamour and debauchery with spirited brushwork and commitment. The movements are palpable, the energy electrifying.

He’s captured the driving heartbeat of Parisian nightlife.

Signed/dated and housed in its original frame.

Learn more about Friedrich August Herkendell in our directory.

"Oh to spend an evening here with friends!"

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 44” x 36½” / 112cm x 93cm
Year of creation: 1911
Condition: Artwork presents well with no issues. Frame has been painted.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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