DEGAS, Edgar
(b. 1834, Paris, d. 1917, Paris)

Absinthe Drinkers

Oil on canvas, 92 x 68 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

This painting contains an element of social criticism, similar to that in Zola's L'Assommoir" denouncing the destruction caused by alcoholism. The last two customers at the café are seated in the right-hand part of the painting, with the gray reflection of the street behind them. The couple is surrounded by emptiness. The actress Ellen Andrée and the engraver Marcellin Desboutin served as models, but the painting goes beyond a mere portrait. They become the symbol of a nameless destiny.

Degas simply referred to this painting as In the Café, the present title was added later.