“Moulin Rouge Petite I” by Charles Dwyer


Moulin Rouge Petit I by Charles Dwyer.  Mixed media.

Illustrates Act I of the opera Lakme by Leo Delibes.  The 1883 opera, with a libretto in French by Philippe Gille and Edmont Gondinet is based on the story “Les babouches du Brahamane” by Theodore Pavie. Set in late 19th century India, “Lakme” tells the story of star-crossed lovers Lakme, daughter of a Brahmin priest, and Gerald, a British soldier.

In the town square of a village in India, Lakme, as instructed by her father, tells the legend of a pariah’s daughter who saved the son of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu. Lakme’s father hopes the story will lure a trespasser out into the open, revealing himself (that trespasser happens to be Gerald).

Charles J. Dwyer, Jr. was born in 1961. A Wisconsin native, Dwyer graduated from the Milwaukee School of Art, where he studied fine arts, painting and printmaking.  Dwyer has shown his work in a variety of galleries across the U.S.A.  Those who view Dwyer’s art are captivated by the combination of the female form with autobiographical elements or hidden images. In many of the works, Dwyer combines hand-written script with the images. Working in mixed media for both his limited edition prints and unique works of art, the artist builds up a tactile surface. Style and technique enhance each other to present a romantic form of his very personal expressionism.

Commissioned to create the official poster for Chicago’s ARTEXPO ’93 Dwyer has continued to explore our contemporary mores and milieu with his painting entitled The Three Graces of Chicago. Reinterpreting a classical theme, the artist created an image that captured the dynamics and history of the city.

Mixing a strong abstract and design foundation with minutely and sensitively observed figure studies, Dwyer is able to create stylistically unique pieces. Typically, to arrive at his finished works, Dwyer positions his model within a complete tableau, which includes costume design, make up, backdrops, and props. He then captures the image using a camera with a 6” x 7” or 4” x 5” frame. This is the starting point for an individual and idiosyncratic exploration of the image in which color, pattern, and art historical and pop culture references are combined with Dwyer’s exquisite drawing skills. In the end, Dwyer’s women are beautiful, enigmatic, colorful, reflective, inviting, dazzling, but always just beyond reach.

Dwyer has inscribed, “Scene A” and “Lakme” on the right side of the piece and “Act 1” on the left.  The words “Paris Opera Company” on the center to the left of his signature.  If you look closely, a figure admires Lakme on the right.  Could it be Gerald?

A beautiful and mysterious piece in a heavy black frame trimmed with gold scrolls.  It would fit in any decor and is a perfect piece for the opera aficionado.

Framed size: 17″ wide x 20″ high