This is the first time exhibition has been held on The Théâtre de L'Œuvre. The Théâtre was founded in 1893 by Aurélien Lugné (who called himself Lugné-Poe in homage to the American poet Edgar Allan Poe), along with Camille Mauclair and Edouard Vuillard. The exhibition, requiring collaboration from numerous institutions and collectors from France and abroad, is structured around two complementary themes; the artistic element, which includes the works of artists who were both actors and supporters in the new theatre, Maurice Denis, Vuillard, Bonnard, Toulouse-Lautrec, Vallotton, to mention but a few; and the historic element, comprising of testimonies on the workings of this theatrical legend.
Lugné-Poe (1869-1939) was just 17 when with "stage singeing enthusiasm" he launched his first theatrical venture with the Escholiers, an artistic and literary society founded by one of his schoolmates in the Lycée Fontanes (later renamed the Lycée Condorcet), a school also attended by Maurice Denis and Vuillard. He continued his studies at the Conservatory for Music and Speech and at the Théâtre Libre, under Antoine, before moving on to the Théâtre d'Art. The exhibition's prologue evokes the didactic role of the Théâtre d'Art - which was founded by Paul Fort to counter the domination of the theatre world by Naturalism, the vaudeville and the classical repertoire - and focuses on L'Intruse by Maeterlink, a performance given by Théâtre d'Art in 1891 for the benefit of Verlaine and Gauguin, illustrated by Maurice Denis and Vuillard.